For a long time in sport, there has been a struggle to bring the wage gap between men and women. Now, in football, the same argument has cropped up and the beef is between the USWNT and USMNT.
The United States women’s national team has been campaigning for equal pay to their male counterparts for a while. However, the U.S. Soccer Federation shot back, saying that the men should be the ones fighting. The comments came on the back of the US National Congressfor the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Their condition was that the USWNT must be paid “fair and equitable wages” compared to the men’s team. In response, USSF president Carlos Cordeiro reportedly gave an analysis of federation finances of both national teams. According to his estimates, the women earned millions more than their counterparts over the last decade.
Cordeiro even mentioned an open letter posted on the U.S. Soccer website that women’s players were paid $34.1 million through salaries and bonuses from 2010-2018. Meanwhile the men were paid $26.4 million over that same time period.
“Just as our WNT players have shared their perspective, I strongly believe that you — as U.S. Soccer members, stakeholders, sponsors and partners — deserve to hear ours,” Cordeiro wrote. “Now that the Women’s World Cup is behind us, a common understanding of key facts will also help advance our shared work to grow women’s soccer in America as well as the larger national discussion about equality.”
Cordeiro explained that the USSF findings were verified by an independent accounting firm. In addition to that, it did not include money received by U.S. Soccer for World Cup bonuses. According to him, With that included, the men’s earnings for that period would shoot up to $41 million compared to $39.7 million for the women. He also suggested USSF should not be held responsible for inequities in FIFA prize money. Cordeiro even claimed that he “continues to push FIFA president Gianni Infantino… to increase prize compensation” for the Women’s World Cup.
However, the USWNT players were not buying the claims at all and countered with their own arguments.
“This is a sad attempt by the USSF to quell the overwhelming tide of support the USWNT has received from everyone from fans to sponsors to the United States Congress,” spokesperson Molly Levinson said to ESPN. “The USSF has repeatedly admitted that it does not pay the women equally and that it does not believe the women even deserve to be paid equally. This is why they use words like ‘fair’ and ‘equitable,’ not ‘equal,’ in describing pay.”
Levinson even claimed that Cordeiro “inappropriately (included) the NWSL salaries of the players to inflate the women’s players’ compensation.”
In a show of solidarity, the USMNT backed their female teammate and questioned Cordeiro’s findings about their own earnings.
“The USMNT players were not impressed with U.S. Soccer Federation Carlos Cordeiro’s letter made public on Monday,” the team declared in a statement. “The Federation downplays contributions to the sport when it suits them … The women’s national team players deserve equal pay and are right to pursue a legal remedy from the courts or Congress.”