Renee Chou, WRAL Anchor: After a 6 year court battle with several members of the World Cup championship team over equal pay, the U.S. Soccer Federation has reached a settlement with the players. WRAL’s Amanda Lamb just spoke with members of the North Carolina Courage, and she joins us from the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. Amanda?
Amanda Lamb, WRAL Reporter: Renee, this is the result of a lawsuit filed in March of 2019 by 28 players from the U.S. Women’s National Team. Now, this is a big day for women’s soccer players across the country and for the North Carolina Courage here in North Carolina. They just got off this field a few minutes ago, they’re practicing for the upcoming Challenge Cup. Now, even as players took the field on this kind of wet and gloomy morning, there was definitely an undercurrent of excitement about this settlement. The settlement will divide $22 million between about two dozen current and former members of the U.S. Women’s National Team, much of it back pay for compensation they should have received. Another $2 million will establish a fund for soccer players and charities. But even more importantly, U.S. Soccer has agreed to equalize pay between men and women during the teams’ collective bargaining agreements with the players’ unions. Many people believe that this settlement will have a big impact, even beyond sports.
Katie Abernethy, Partner at The Noble Law: I think a lot of women in the working world can appreciate this, that for women, a lot of times, you’re judged on your results, whereas men are judged on their potential. You know, you have to work twice as hard to get the same place as a man.
Merritt Mathias, North Carolina Courage: I don’t know if it has completely set in for what it will do for future generations, but I do know it is a huge moment. I do know from today on that the future of women’s soccer and hopefully women’s sports in general will be different than what I have grown up with.
Amanda Lamb, WRAL: Now, the settlement comes on the heels of an agreement in 2021, where U.S. Soccer agreed to equal working conditions for men and women, including their training facilities and travel accommodations. We also spoke with the coach of the team today, Sean Nahas, and he supports this settlement 100%. He says it’s long overdue, and he hopes it will attract more women to the sport. One little interesting sidebar here that I learned this morning – U.S. women have won four World Cups since the program’s start in 1985, while the men have not reached the semifinal since 1930. So, a little sports trivia there for you Renee.
Renee Chou, WRAL: The women are amazing, and finally a level playing field. A win-win for sure. Amanda Lamb, live at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.