US Soccer Statement on Pay Disparities between USMNT and USWNT

Reasons why this Fact Sheet is misleading:

  1. Total Payments

Over the past decade, U.S. Soccer has paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team.  From 2010 through 2018, U.S. Soccer paid our women $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses and we paid our men $26.4 million—not counting the significant additional value of various benefits that our women’s players receive but which our men do not. 

This is a bold claim after just admitting that the team's play different games (profile and number) against different opponents. For example, the women's team has won two World Cups in the past decade. The Men's team has missed an entire World Cup and had early exits on several other major tournaments. What is the impact of this difference of games in total compensation? A comparison of the per game compensation would be much more revealing.

Additionally, it seems like US Soccer is including all NWSL salaries in this total compensation figure (not just player representing the national team. With 9 teams, that's around 234 salaries, across 10 years, lumped into the figure that do not apply to the discussion at hand -- comparison of men's and women's compensation for the national teams.

  1. Salaries

Under their CBA, the women have chosen to have a guaranteed salary; U.S. Soccer therefore pays each WNT contracted player a base salary of $100,000 per year.(In contrast, the men’s national team players have no guaranteed salary and are only paid for the training camps they attend and the games they play, plus game bonuses.)In addition, U.S. Soccer also pays WNT contracted players a $67,500-$72,500 salary for playing in the National Women’s Soccer League.(In contrast, we do not pay salaries for men who play in Major League Soccer or any other men’s professional league).In other words, U.S. Soccer guarantees WNT contracted players who also play in the NWSL a base salary of $167,500-$172,500 per year, atop which they can earn game and tournament bonuses.

Once again, including the NWSL salary is disingenuous and unwarranted for the discussion. The complaint is about unequal compensation when representing the national teams. US Soccer seems to be including it because they pay the women's club salaries, unlike the men's players. However, it skews the evidence to compare the womens' club + national salaries with the mens' national salaries and derive any conclusion from that.

  1. Hypothetical per game comparison

That said, if the men and women ever did play in and win 20 friendlies in a year and were paid the average bonus amount, a women’s player would earn more­ from U.S. Soccer than the men’s player—the women’s player would earn at least $307,500 (WNT and NWSL salaries, plus game bonuses) and the men’s player would earn $263,333 (game bonuses only).

Here again, they skew the numbers by including the womens' NWSL salaries. And in this case, it's even more deceitful, because they are specifically talking about 20 hypothetical national team friendlies. Why would the womens' club compensation be included in this calculation at all? It seems that, by US Soccer's own calculations, the men would be compensated $263,333 and the women would be compensated $235,000 - 240,000 for these 20 international friendlies.

  1. Benefits

This is an interesting point, and I think deserves some additional analysis, which we can't do with the data provided. My question would be: Is the difference in benefits (i.e. that women receive them from US Soccer and men do not) due to U.S. Soccer's relationship with NWSL? I would imagine that the men receive these benefits through their club teams, and therefore do not need them from the national team. For the women, do they receive these benefits only upon receiving a national team contract, or are they provided to all NWSL players? If the benefits are part of a NWSL contract, they also should not be included in this calculation. US Soccer seems to be intent on moving the goal away from the discussion at hand -- Women's compensation vs. Men's compensation when representing the national team.

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