Cantwell, Capito Take the Field With U.S. Soccer for Signing of Historic Equal Pay Agreement

September 7, 2022

Senators introduced Equal Pay bill inspired by players that ensures all Team USA athletes—regardless of gender—receive equal pay and benefits in global competition


AUDI FIELD, WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following tonight’s U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) match against Nigeria, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) joined leaders of U.S. Soccer, USWNT and the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) for the signing of historic Collective Bargaining Agreements which guarantee players are paid equally.  The fight for equal pay inspired the senators’ bipartisan Equal Pay for Team USA Act which would require equal pay and benefits for all Team USA athletes who represent the United States in global athletic competitions, like the Olympics, regardless of gender.

Sen. Cantwell cheering with thousands of fans as first-ever agreement guaranteeing equal pay for top-ranked USWNT players is signed 

Sen. Cantwell, who spoke during the event, acknowledged that the historic agreements were only possiblebecause a group of women athletes, at the pinnacle of their success, had the audacity to say ‘we deserve equal pay for our success.’”

“I want to thank U.S. Women’s Soccer, and since I come from Seattle where we love soccer, I have to say a special thanks to Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle who signed the original petition to make this case a reality” she continued. “And thank you now to U.S. Soccer, for Cindy’s leadership, in getting this deal done. And making sure that we send a message to all across the United States.” 

Sen. Cantwell added: “My colleague is here tonight. I’m a Democrat from Washington state. She’s a Republican from West Virginia. But we are going to use the power of this moment to get national legislation passed so that every young girl in every sport knows that we will have equal pay when it comes to sports in the United States of America. Let’s celebrate!” 

Cantwell congratulates Washington’s Megan Rapinoe

Sen. Capito, U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone, Sen. Cantwell and U.S. Soccer Foundation CEO Ed Foster-Simeon 

“It was an honor to celebrate the United States Women’s National Soccer teams historic Collective Bargaining Agreement with the team tonight,” Sen. Capito said. “For decades, women have been treated as less than equal to their male counterparts in compensation, benefits, medical treatment, playing conditions, and travel. I am proud to support and be an advocate for equal and fair play, and I hope to see other organizations follow the leadership set by U.S. Soccer on behalf of young girls across our country.”

Earlier this year, the USWNT settled their longstanding gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, reaching an agreement on a deal to be compensated at the same rate of pay as the men’s team. The two new Collective Bargaining Agreements, which run through 2028, achieve equal pay through identical economic terms for both the men and women’s teams. These economic terms include identical compensation models for all competitions, including the FIFA World Cup, and the introduction of the same commercial revenue sharing mechanism for both teams.

The ceremony was emceed by World Cup champion and ESPN commentator Julie Foudy. Fans also heard from Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone, Women’s National Team players, and a message from tennis player Billie Jean King. Washington state OL Reign players on the USWNT include Rose Lavelle, Alana Cook, Sofia Huerta and Megan Rapinoe. Lavelle and Rapinoe were both plaintiffs in the equal pay case.

The bipartisan Equal Pay for Team USA Act would require that all athletes representing the United States in global amateur athletic competitions receive equal compensation and benefits for their work, regardless of gender. It also would require equal payment for medical care, travel and expenses. 

The bill applies to 50 different sports’ national governing bodies, and it requires the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to conduct oversight and the USOPC and national governing bodies to report on compliance with the legislation.

Sens. Cantwell and Capito introduced the bipartisan legislation in July 2021 and it passed the Commerce Committee on June 22, 2022. The legislation is currently awaiting final vote by the full Senate. 

Organizations Supporting the Equal Pay for Team USA Act:

  1. Alliance of Social Workers in Sports
  2. American Volleyball Coaches Association
  3. Athlete Ally
  4. Center for Sport, Peace & Society – University of Tennessee
  5. Champion Women
  6. Equality League
  7. Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media
  8. National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association
  9. National Organization for Women
  10. National Women’s Law Center
  11. Sports Fans Coalition
  12. The Female Quotient
  13. The Tucker Center – University of Minnesota
  14. Trajectory Women
  15. UltraViolet
  16. UN Women
  17. US Olympic and Paralympic Committee
  18. US Soccer
  19. US Squash
  20. USA Curling
  21. USA Volleyball
  22. USA Water Ski & Wake Sports
  23. Voice in Sport
  24. West Virginia University Women’s Soccer Team
  25. Women Win
  26. Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association
  27. Women’s Sports Foundation
  28. Wrestle Like a Girl