In the latest statement to come out of the USWNT vs USSF wage discrimination fight, US Soccer has taken a look at its financials and determined that actually, the women are only paid 2.2% less than the men based on the average salary over four years of the top 14 earners on the WNT, compared to the top 11 earners on the MNT.
US Soccer took the salaries from their top 25 earners over the past four years, which broke down into 14 women and 11 men, and claimed that the average total salary over that time was $695,269 for women and $710,775 for men, which is where they get their 2.2% difference. Never mind that there could be a steep dropoff in differences in averages for the next 25 players, those are the figures that were provided.
UPDATE: US Soccer provided some more salary figures to the New York Times, which shows increasing discrepancies between male and female players the farther you go down the earnings rankings.
Included in this time period is the 2015 Women's World Cup, which USSF is quick to point out netted 14 of 24 players over $300,000 in salary plus benefits. Sounds great, right? Except USSF then turns around and tries to compare this salary + benefits amount to the top male player's salary, no benefits, of $178,000.
That $300,000 seems fair. The women won the World Cup in 2015 and the above cited figure seems to include their bonuses based on statements by US Soccer president Sunil Gulati from last summer. They earned every cent of that money.
On that $300,000/per #USWNT player number: That isn't a bonus. That is expected yearly earnings WITH bonus. Some base salaries ~$280,000.— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) July 10, 2015
But then USSF wants us all to consider that revenue numbers from the 2015 World Cup shouldn't be used because it was a World Cup year, which naturally skews things a bit.
Which is it, guys? You want everyone to know that you paid the WNT really well in 2015 because it was a World Cup year, but don't want to use revenue examples from 2015 because it was a World Cup year?
Context is everything, and USSF is also conveniently forgetting the history of their treatment of this team in particular and the overall treatment of women's soccer and women's sports in general. That the WNT has already managed to reach a year in which they out-earn the MNT despite existing as a team for a fraction of the time in an environment which has not always been friendly to women in sports (and still isn't, really), and from humble beginnings in the men's hand-me-down uniforms, is truly remarkable. Future progress depends on the federation continuing to invest and invest well, so that years like 2015 are no longer outliers but the baseline by which we measure the game.