U.S. Soccer and the U.S. women’s national team players announced on Tuesday an agreement to resolve the outstanding equal pay claims in litigation that has been pending since March 2019.

The agreement ended a six-year legal battle over equal pay, a deal in which the team has been promised $24 million, plus bonuses that match those of the U.S. men’s national team.

The deal will have the players split $22 million, about one-third of what they had sought in damages.

The parties released the following joint statement on the settlement agreement:

“We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer. Getting to this day has not been easy. The U.S. women’s national team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes. Today, we recognize the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped to make this day possible, as well as all of the women and girls who will follow. Together, we dedicate this moment to them. We look forward to continuing to work together to grow women’s soccer and advance opportunities for young girls and women in the United States and across the globe.”

USWNT players applauded the deal.

“For our generation, knowing that we’re going to leave the game in an exponentially better place than when we found it is everything,”  midfielder Megan Rapinoe told the Associated Press. “That’s what it’s all about because, to be honest, there is no justice in all of this if we don’t make sure it never happens again.”

The news has to be considered a major success for U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, a former USWNT player.

Cone replaced Carlos Cordeiro as president in 2020. Cordeiro resigned after the federation made a legal filing that claimed women had less physical ability and responsibility than male counterparts.

“This is just one step towards rebuilding the relationship with the women’s team. I think this is a great accomplishment and I’m excited about the future and working together with them,” Cone was quoted by The Guardian. “Now we can shift the focus to other things, most importantly, growing the game at all levels and increasing opportunities for girls and women.”

Cordeiro has decided to run for U.S. Soccer president again, against Cone. The election is set for March 5.

According to a news release from U.S. Soccer, here are the key terms of the agreement:

The case is on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The parties have jointly requested that the appeal be held in abeyance and the oral argument scheduled for March 7, be removed from the calendar.

According to a news release from U.S. Soccer, here are the key terms of the agreement:

* The parties have agreed to resolve the equal pay claims for a total of $24 million.

— The federation will pay $22 million to the players in the case. This amount will be distributed in a manner proposed by the USWNT players and approved by the district court.

— U.S. Soccer also will pay an additional $2 million into an account to benefit the USWNT players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to women’s and girls’ soccer. Each player will be able to apply for up to $50,000 from this fund.

* The settlement is contingent on the ratification of a new CBA for the USWNT.

— Final approval of the settlement by the district court will be scheduled once a new collective bargaining agreement between the USWNT and U.S. Soccer is ratified.
Once the USWNT CBA is ratified and the settlement receives final approval from the court, this agreement will fully resolve the litigation.

— Claims related to working conditions that had been filed as part of this litigation were previously resolved in December 2020.

* U.S. Soccer has committed to providing an equal rate of pay going forward for the women’s and men’s national teams in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.

— The details will be established by the new CBA between U.S. Soccer and the USWNT.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.