When the U.S. women’s national team and the U.S. Soccer Federation agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement back in 2017, it seemed like a relief for both sides at the time. The USWNT’s previous contract had expired months prior, and the players had considered going on strikeearlier in the process but worried about how it could affect the National Women’s Soccer League, which the USWNT players were obligated to play in. With a CBA finally done, it appeared everyone could move on.

But that’s not really what happened. In 2019, the players sued U.S. Socceralleging gender discrimination over the compensation and other non-monetary issues — much of what was in the CBA they signed in 2017. The players have maintained that they asked in those negotiations for the same contract the men get, but U.S. Soccer dismissed the idea outright, leaving them with no choice but to accept an unequal contract so they could keep playing. The federation denies that happened, but what’s clear is that the CBA the federation signed for the women in 2017 and remains in effect today is very different from the men’s CBA — and that has been a big problem for U.S. Soccer, both because of the bad publicity it has generated and because of the equal pay lawsuit that is still working its waythrough the legal system. Read More