PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s road to the World Cup championship has been a thrilling and inspiring time for our country. And it’s also brought to light an important discussion about equal pay.
It happened after their victory in France, then again during the World Cup championship parade in New York City — “equal pay” chants broke out.
“Because of the World Cup, we’ve got an opportunity to make some noise,” James Galanis said.
Galanis is a soccer coach and longtime trainer of Delran, New Jersey native and USWNT forward Carli Lloyd. Lloyd and her teammates have been making noise, indeed.
“I think we are done with the are we worth it, should we have equal pay,” USWNT star Megan Rapinoe said.
In March, 28 players on the team sued the United States Soccer Federation, claiming earning as little as 38% of what their males counterparts do, regardless of how much more revenue they might bring in.
“The athletes in the U.S. Women’s National League have done an important job of saying this matters, but it’s a lot broader than just that team and that league,” Dr. Caroline Heffernan, of Temple University, said.
Heffernan adds that FIFA brings this issue to the world stage.
“If we look at the bonus structure of FIFA and the amount that they pay out to the male winners of the World Cup and female winners of the World Cup, it is astronomically different,” she said.
And FIFA’s prize standards are in part, what the U.S. Soccer Federation claims accounts for much of this gap in pay.
In addition, a collective bargaining agreement had previously tied female soccer players to making less than the men’s team. A new agreement has provisions that allow for similar bonuses for men and women playing in friendly games or tournaments.
So what can fans do? According to Heffernan, show up for games and buy merchandise so that all teams with female players can’t be written off as lacking interest.
“If you show up and you vote with your butt and with your money, it actually can make a change,” she said.
Eyewitness News also asked Heffernan about West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s bill that would withhold federal dollars for the 2026 Men’s World Cup unless equal pay is granted by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
She said it was great symbolically, but that since the American venues used to host the games are already built, the impact is likely to be minimal.