As the US women’s national team negotiates a new collective bargaining agreement with US Soccer, it can be hard to keep track of all the moves that have happened over time. Here’s our very thorough timeline of events, including some background context, to help you keep it all straight. This list will updated with any changes as they happen.
December 31, 2012: The 2005 collective bargaining agreement expires.
March 19, 2013: U.S Soccer and the USWNT player’s association come to a memorandum of understanding that acts as an agreement on the CBA through December 31, 2016. This is completed in time for the launch of the inaugural NWSL season.
October 1, 2014: A group of players including Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Heather O’Reilly files a lawsuit in an Ontario tribunal against the Canadian Soccer Association and FIFA. The stated goal of the lawsuit was to install grass instead of turf for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
November 24, 2014: USWNT Players Association legal counsel is replaced by Richard Nichols.
December 23, 2015: In a letter sent to U.S Soccer, Richard Nichols informs them that the position of the USWNTPA is that the CBA no longer exists and that the MOU can be terminated at will by the player’s association. Nichols sets a sixty day deadline for a new agreement to be reached or else the players would be able to take potential actions that included a strike.
February 3, 2016: U.S Soccer sues the USWNTPA in a Chicago federal court with a question of the validity of the current CBA. The player’s association maintains that the CBA is not valid and U.S Soccer maintains the memorandum of understanding serves as a valid CBA.
March 31, 2016: USWNT CBA player leadership group (Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Becky Sauerbrunn) file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint for the USWNT over inequality in pay and treatment. The complaint alleges that the USMNT is given better accommodations even though the income for the USWNT is equal to the men.
The player leadership group then go on the Today Show to bring broader public attention to the EEOC complaint and the equal play, equal pay fight.
April 10, 2016: Carli Lloyd publishes an essay in the New York Times, “Why I’m Fighting for Equal Pay.”
May 5, 2016: Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Hope Solo do a segment on The Daily Show that discusses the fight for equal pay.
June 1, 2016: In a twenty-page statement, U.S Soccer asks the EEOC to dismiss the complaint made against them by members of the USWNT. This letter revealed financial information regarding the pay structure of the MNT and WNT. U.S Soccer expresses their support for the WNT and claims that the disparity in pay is due to the differences in pay structure and not inequality.
June 3, 2016: US district court judge rules that the USWNT was bound by the no strike clause implied in the 2013 memorandum of understanding.
August 24, 2016: Hope Solo’s national team contract is terminated and she is suspended for six months as a result of comment she made about Sweden following the USWNT Olympic quarterfinal exit. Solo was an integral part of the player leadership group. Richard Nichols was hired on her recommendation. These actions by US Soccer end her official participation in the equal pay fight with her teammates.
October 11, 2016: In an article published by the New York Times, Carli Lloyd reaffirms USWNT commitment to the fight for equal pay.
November 20, 2016: Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Morgan Brian, and Christen Press appear in a 60 Minutes feature and discuss the negotiations with US Soccer and equal pay. Hope Solo also appears separately in the feature.
December 22, 2016: Though she’s no longer officially a member of the USWNT, Hope Solo continues to speak out about the battle for equal pay in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press.
December 28, 2016: Three days before the pending expiration of the CBA, the USWNTPA announces that Richard Nichols will no longer serve as their legal counsel.
December 31, 2016: The memorandum of understanding and CBA expires between US Soccer and the USWNT. This date passes without the parties coming to a new agreements but both sides agree to continue operating under its terms into the new year.
January 16, 2017: In an interview with The Guardian, Alex Morgan does not rule out the potential for a strike by the player’s association.
January 17, 2017: Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald reports that Carli Lloyd has left her official role in the USWNTPA. Christen Press, Meghan Klingenberg, and Becky Sauerbrunn become the new official representatives.
January 31, 2017: Sunil Gulati says that the USWNT has new legal representation and that the tone of the discussions have changed. Gulati reveals that there have been meetings between U.S Soccer and the Players Association and that there are a series of meetings scheduled over the new few weeks.
February 2, 2017: In the NWSL livestream announcing a major partnership between the league and A+E Networks, Sunil Gulati reaffirms his statement that the tone has changed in the CBA discussions. Gulati is confident that the new CBA will be completed in time for the start of the fifth NWSL season.
February 3, 2017: An article in the New York Times reveals the details of the restructured USWNTPA. The restructuring of the union creates new player representatives - currently Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, and Christen Press - who are elected to one-year terms to go along with the pre-existing Players Association CBA committee, and added new union committees. Kelley O’Hara and Sam Mewis have replaced Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd on the pre-existing CBA committee. Becca Roux, a management consultant, has been brought on as the interim executive director as well as new unnamed lawyers to handle negotiations.
Becky Sauerbrunn and Megan Rapinoe reiterate Sunil Gulati’s previous assertions that there has been a major shift in tone from the hardline voices of Hope Solo and Richard Nichols. The players believe that a player-driven union structure is moving in the correct direction, though both are less bullish than Gulati about the certainty of a deal in the near future.
April 2, 2017: The New York Times reports that the team was in long weekend negotiations with USSF over the weekend in Texas as they prepared for two friendlies against Russia. “At least 15 members of the team” took part and others called in to listen. The two sides apparently made progress on “noneconomic issues” like per diems and travel, but did not come to an agreement on the main issue at hand, player compensation.
April 5, 2017: Grant Wahl with Sports Illustrated reports that the USWNT and USSF have ratified a new CBA through 2021. The new CBA covers things like increased pay, better travel accommodation, equal per diems as the MNT, and Players Association control over group likeness rights.
March 8, 2019: The team files a complaint in federal court alleging gender discrimination by USSF and asks for back pay, equal pay to the MNT, and other compensation.
May 6, 2019: USSF files a response to the lawsuit, maintaining that their decisions were legitimate business reasons, and not discriminatory.
June 21, 2019: The WSJ reports that both sides have agreed to mediation.
August 14, 2019: Mediation in New York is unable to reach a resolution.
November 8, 2019: A district court in California certifies the USWNT as a class.
February 21, 2020: Both sides file asking for summary judgment, and the USWNT presents the work of an economic expert who says they could be owed as much as $66M in damages.
March 8, 2020: Carlos Cordeiro sends an open letter regarding the equal pay lawsuit; it is not well received by the USWNT
March 10, 2020: Both sides respond to the summary judgment filings; US Soccer continues to use “men are stronger and faster than women” as part of their “different jobs” arguments
March 12, 2020: Carlos Cordeiro resigns as president of USSF, effective immediately.