The U.S. women’s national soccer team achieved equal pay with its new collective bargaining agreement announced Wednesday.
USWNT members Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams discuss the landmark deal in an upcoming episode of Snacks, with both calling it “monumental.”
The new CBA closes the pay gap between the men’s and women’s national teams. It also makes the United States the first country to achieve equal pay for its men’s and women’s teams, according to the U.S. Soccer Federation.
“It’s so exciting, I’m so excited,” Williams says. “I want to shout out everybody that put so much hard work into it… This was a long time coming.”
Both Mewis and Williams were members of the negotiating committee for the USWNT players association.
“This is a big exclamation point next to equal pay, something that has been a really long time coming,” Mewis says. “Our team did such a good job. In a moment when it felt really long and like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re never going to get there,’ everybody put their heads down and kept going.”
CBA negotiations dragged on for months, with the March 31 deadline coming and going without any deal. At the time, FIFA prize money was a sticking point in negotiations. Under the new CBAs for the men’s and women’s teams, both sides will pool that money and divide it equally between them.
The current USWNT players were inspired by those that came before them and began the fight for equal pay, Williams said.
“You should fight for what is right,” Williams said. “I thank them so much for helping me find that, and I hope the generations after us feel that from us too.”
Williams also said she hoped the impact of the USWNT’s new CBA will be felt beyond the world of soccer.
“In soccer, it’s obviously a huge step and huge to our lives,” Williams said. “But I also think that it’s inspiring for all women to achieve equal pay and say that, no, we’re not going to accept anything less than what is fair and what is equal.”