USWNT 'Fair and Equitable Wages' Bill Introduced to Congress



U.S. Congresswomen Doris Matsui and Rosa DeLauro have introduced the Give Our Athletes Level Salaries (GOALS) Act on Monday, aiming to ensure the U.S. women's national team (USWNT) is paid "fair and equitable wages" compared to the men's team.

The aim of the bill, according to its sponsors, is to "block any and all federal funding for the 2026 World Cup – jointly-hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada – until the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) pays the USWNT fair and equitable wages."

The USWNT has been engaged in a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer for several years, with a judge ruling against the team last year in their pay discrimination claim.



What has been said?


“Stars such as Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd are household names, yet their hard work – which has brought our nation various World Cups including the most recent tournament – is grossly undervalued," Congresswoman Matsui said in a news release.

"From factory floors to the boardroom, to the soccer pitch of the world’s biggest stage, women everywhere perform the same job and do not get what they deserve – equal pay for equal work. 

"The GOALS Act provides a clear message to the U.S. Soccer Federation – make real reforms to provide equal wages to their female athletes or sacrifice vital funds for the 2026 World Cup."


What is the status of the USWNT lawsuit?


In December, the USWNT and U.S. Soccer reached a settlement over one portion of the team's lawsuit, involving unequal working conditions. 

As part of the settlement, U.S. Soccer agreed to revised policies over charter flights, venue selection, professional support, and hotel accommodations.

The settlement allowed the USWNT to move forward with their appeal over a federal judge's May 2020 ruling in U.S. Soccer's favor over the team's pay discrimination claim.


What are the chances the bill is passed?


Based on the volume of bills introduced in every two-year U.S. Congress, it would appear the GOALS Act faces long odds to become law. 

According to GovTrack, there have been more than 2,500 pieces of legislation introduced in the 117th Congress, which only began in January. Just one of those has become law so far. 

Congresswomen Matsui and DeLauro introduced a similar bill in 2019, which did not advance past the U.S. House of Representatives.

The GOALS Act would need to advance past the U.S. House and then pass the Senate as well, before President Joe Biden's signature would make it law. 

Biden has expressed his support for the idea in the past, tweeting last year: "To U.S. Soccer: equal pay, now. Or else when I'm president, you can go elsewhere for World Cup funding."