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U.S. women’s soccer team earns record $3.3 million payout while crashing out of the World Cup sooner than ever



The U.S. women’s team is going home early, but they still made history.

The U.S. women’s soccer team was knocked out of the 16th round of the Women’s World Cup by Sweden during a penalty shootout on Sunday. It was the American team’s earliest-ever exit from the tournament. But despite not winning the title, the women are bringing home their biggest payout ever of $3.25 million. 

In addition to the women’s team’s award for reaching the knockout stage, they settled an agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2019 that guaranteed the women’s and men’s national teams equal pay. The two American teams will split their prize money equally from their respective World Cups. And under the same agreement, the players receive 90% of their payout, while the federation keeps the remaining 10%.

All in all, the U.S. women’s team made $7.3 million from the 2022-23 World Cup cycle.

After ending 120 minutes of play at a 0-0 draw, the U.S. and Sweden faced off in a penalty kick shootout. Megan Rapinoe, who is known for being deadly in shootouts and has also been on the forefront of the fight for equal pay in the sport, shot the ball over the net, meaning the U.S. was eliminated 5-4.  

Former president Donald Trump, who is battling three separate indictments while running for reelection in 2024, commented on the team’s performance on his social media platform, Truth Social, blaming Megan Rapinoe and “wokeness” for the failure.

Trump wrote, “The ‘shocking and totally unexpected’ loss by the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team to Sweden is fully emblematic of what is happening to the our once great Nation under Crooked Joe Biden. Many of our players were openly hostile to America – No other country behaved in such a manner, or even close. WOKE EQUALS FAILURE. Nice shot Megan, the USA is going to Hell!!! MAGA”

FIFA backtracked on pledge for better pay

On July 20, the eve of the Women’s World Cup, the players found out they might not be paid what they were promised as FIFA president Gianni Infantino reneged on a commitment he made the month prior to distribute a portion of the prize money directly to the players.

Under the initial payment model, every participating player would’ve been paid $30,000 each, with the payout increasing with the team’s performance. Players on the winning team would earn $270,000. The payment would’ve been significant for most players, as the global average salary for professional women’s soccer players is $14,000.

In a conference, FIFA shared it could no longer make this guarantee but that it was in conversation with national football federations on the issue.

Historically, member federations receive the prize money and are encouraged to distribute the funds to players—but they don’t always do so. Under FIFA’s original commitment, $49 million of this year’s record-breaking $110 million pot would have gone to the players directly, presumably bypassing the federations. 

The decision was considered a setback to closing the gender pay gap in the sport.

Women earn 25 cents on the dollar earned by men at the World Cup last year, according to a CNN analysis. This figure is worse than the global average for women across all industries; they earn 77 cents on the dollar, per the United Nations.

Additionally, nearly a third of women aren’t paid by their federations, and roughly two-thirds have to take leave or unpaid leave from their second job in order to participate in tournaments, according to a 2023 report by the global union FIFPRO.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup is being co-hosted in Australia and New Zealand and runs until August 20. 

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