USSF report shows the gender gap in the United States soccer system

Andy Scholes walks through US Soccer’s landmark equal pay deal with the Women’s National Team. (3:08)

The goal for equal pay for men and women in the United States soccer system has largely eluded the federation from its debut in 1976 until now. Yet what we’ve seen in the past two decades is a major step forward. A USSF report, released for the first time on Tuesday, showed that the average salary for men and women on national teams, with their full support, over the years has been about equal.

In a world of equal pay, women would be paid, on average, 15% more than their male counterparts. But in USSF’s figures, which took into account a team’s financial situation, it wasn’t even close.

From 1976-2008, the average total salary for all national team players was $14.6 million, according to the report, which was submitted to FIFA by USSF in late June. But that figure has since been adjusted significantly, as the amount earned by the male national team players has decreased significantly, while the women’s team has increased.

In 1976, the average team salary for men and women was $3.4 million, and in 2008, men’s salaries are now at a rate of $2,867,000; the women’s salaries have increased from $2,527,000 in 1976 to $4,963,000 in 2008.

The report shows the gender gap in the men’s game, with the average starting salary for men in 2008 being $2,867,000 while women’s salaries are $4,963,000, a difference of $1.7 million annually. Even though the total amount of money earned annually for men and women is now almost equal, the men’s money has been declining steadily; the women’s money has remained relatively flat even as the USSF’s men’s team has been steadily increasing, while the women’s team has been decreasing.

This report comes out almost 20 years after the USSF started its program in 1974. In the past three decades, men’s salaries in the USSF have declined steadily while women’s salaries remain flat, with the gap increasing. The USSF needs to do something to fix the pay gap.

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