July 27, 2019
Press Release
Co-sponsors legislation withholding federal funding from 2026 Men’s World Cup until women receive equal pay they deserve

(Rochester, NY) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle announced the introduction of legislation he co-sponsors to fight for equal pay for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT). The GOALS (Give Our Athletes Level Salaries) Act would block federal funding from the 2026 Men’s 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.

“I want my granddaughters to grow up knowing they are just as talented, capable, and valued as their male counterparts – and that starts at the top by ensuring their role models are treated with the respect and equality they deserve,” said Rep. Morelle. “I am grateful to the USWNT for using their platform as national and global stars to shine a light on the critical issue of pay equity. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation and stand alongside these inspiring players—and women everywhere—in the fight to achieve equal pay for equal work.”

“I am honored to be a part of this press conference and this initiative. This issue is very dear to my heart as both a woman and a soccer coach.  I would like the women I coach and mentor to know that they can be anything and do anything they want in life and receive equal pay for equal work,” said Gail Mann, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Nazareth College. “I am so proud of our USWNT for bringing this issue to the forefront and making a difference for the future of all female athletes.”   

Recent reports show the USWNT earns as little as 38 cents on the dollar compared to the men’s team, despite winning back-to-back World Cup titles – unlike their male counterparts. Earlier this year, the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the USSF highlighting the pay disparity between men’s and women’s teams. From 2015 to 2018, the maximum wage per game for members of the USWNT during those years was $4,950, while male players' max wage per game was $13,166.

 “From factory floors to the field of play, women everywhere perform the same job and far too often receive less pay for that work. We need to end pay discrimination in all industries by increasing sunshine and transparency, and the U.S. Soccer Federation is no exception,” said Congresswoman Matsui (CA-06), a lead sponsor of the bill. “Paying women equally is the right thing to do for our country, economy, and families. Until the USSF provides real reforms ensuring equitable pay for our male and female athletes, the U.S. government has no business contributing potentially billions of dollars in support for the 2026 World Cup. I am proud to support the USWNT and women everywhere in the fight for equal pay for equal work”.

“From their victory in the World Cup to the ticker tape parade, chants of ‘equal pay’ have followed the U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team everywhere they go. And rightfully so: they are the best in the world,” said Congresswoman DeLauro (CT-03), another lead sponsor of the bill. “Yet, they are paid less than their male counterparts. That is wrong. Congress needs to ensure women in the same job are getting the same pay—not encouraging the pay gap to continue by funding this unequal pay structure. That is why I am proud to introduce the GOALS Act. It is long past time women receive the pay they have earned.”

The GOALS Act is also endorsed by the National Organization for Women (NOW). In an endorsement letter, a NOW spokesperson said, “Despite winning four World Cup trophies, performing the same job as their male peers, and earning the same, if not more, revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF), the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) is still paid significantly less than the men’s team. The GOALS (Give Our Athletes Level Salaries) Act, would prohibit federal funding for the 2026 World Cup until the USF ends their discriminatory practices and provides equal pay for all its athletes – male and female.”