The U.S. Soccer Federation took a major step regarding equal pay concerns for its men's and women's national teams.
The federation announced Tuesday that it's offering the respective players' unions for the men's and women's national teams the same contract proposals. The decision reflects an effort to align the two senior national teams under a single collective bargaining agreement structure — and pay structure.
In a statement Tuesday, U.S. Soccer said it "firmly believes that the best path forward for all involved, and for the future of the sport in the United States, is a single pay structure for both senior national teams."
The specifics of the contract proposal were not shared with the public. It will be up to the unions for the men's and women's national teams to accept the offer.
The players unions didn't publicly comment on the federation's announcement Tuesday.
This announcement comes years after a major lawsuit by dozens of players for the U.S. Women's National Soccer team argued that female players have been consistently paid less than their male counterparts, despite superior performance on the field.
Some players filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in March 2019, months after the U.S. men's soccer team failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018. The women's team went on to dominate its 2019 World Cup tournament and win.
The federation went on to say Tuesday, in part, that the proposal will ensure that players for the national teams "remain among the highest paid senior national team players in the world."
Key pay differences still remain
Another important piece of compensation for the soccer players still needs to be sorted out, according to the federation.
The organization said it would not agree to a new contract with both teams unless "the important step of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money" is addressed.
FIFA, which hosts the World Cup, has offered $440 million in prize money to teams that take part in the men's 2022 World Cup. That's up from $400 million in 2018, according to ESPN. The proposed prize money for the 2023 Women's World Cup is $60 million, an increase from $38 million in 2019.
The U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association, representing players on the men's team, has been working under the terms of a contract that expired in 2018.
The U.S. Women's National Team Players Association's contract expires at the end of this year.