The United States women’s soccer team, a four-time World Cup champion, is winning at the men’s World Cup, too.
Thanks to new labor agreements reached with U.S. Soccer that guarantee a split of prize money won by the country’s national teams, the women will receive an equal share in the prize money from the performance of the U.S. men in Qatar. How much money? At least $6 million to date, or more than the combined prizes the women’s team collected for their 2019 World Cup victory in France ($4 million prize) and their 2015 title in Canada ($2 million).
In September, the U.S. women’s and men’s teams formally signed new collective bargaining agreements with landmark terms: For the first time, U.S. Soccer guaranteed the players will receive equal pay for competing in international matches and competitions, which had been one of the most contentious issues facing the teams and the federation in recent years.
That means the women’s national team will also benefit from the men’s advancement at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, in figures that a spokesperson for the women’s team said the players are still digesting — but that have given the women’s team, and its predecessors, a sense of accomplishment and advancement in a decades-long pursuit of equity in the sport.
“The women have done their work — four World Cups, four Olympic gold medals — to bring high visibility, and I mean high visibility, to the sport of soccer in this country, which needed it for a long time,” said Briana Scurry, a goalkeeper for the Americans’ 1999 World Cup-winning team. “Now the men, once again, it’s their turn and they’re showing incredibly well.”
FIFA previously announced that the total prize pool for the World Cup in Qatar would be $440 million, including $42 million for the winning team. For advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament, after a 1-0 tense win over Iran, the team stands to earn at least $13 million. A win against the Netherlands on Saturday could raise that figure to at least $17 million.
Under the new agreements, 90 percent of World Cup prize money will be pooled and shared equally between the players on the 2022 men’s World Cup roster and the 2023 Women’s World Cup roster, in a historic move that is unique only to the United States among top soccer-playing nations.
The sharing is reciprocal: When the women defend their World Cup title at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, any earnings will be split with the men’s team.
“These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world,” the U.S. Soccer President, Cindy Parlow Cone, said in a statement when the agreements were reached in May.