Megan Rapinoe became a soccer star and a role model for girls worldwide. (Credit: Lorie Shaull, Wikipedia Commons)
Megan Rapinoe continues to be a soccer star and a role model for girls worldwide. (Credit: Lorie Shaull, Wikipedia Commons)

The U.S. Women’s National Team just took a huge step toward its equal pay goal line.

This week, the USWNT settled a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation to the amount of $24 million. Most of that amount – $22 million – will be paid in a lump sum that the USWNT will distribute throughout its organization; the remaining $2 million will be stored in an account that contributes to former women’s soccer players’ goals and other charitable endeavors.

Moreover, the USSF has vowed to pay equal rates to both men’s and women’s teams in all future friendly matches and tournaments, including the World Cup.

“There’s no other way to look at it than just a monumental win for women’s sports, and women’s soccer in particular,” player Megan Rapinoe, who has been leading the charge for pay parity, told ESPN. But, she also noted, “there’s no real justice in this other than this never happening again.”

The player’s union called the settlement “an important step in righting the many wrongs of the past” in a statement to ESPN, adding that the players who fought for it achieved “historic success in fighting decades of discrimination perpetuated by the U.S. Soccer Federation.”

Still, the union’s statement added, “much work remains to be done.”

For starters, approval on a new collective bargaining agreement is needed before the District Court’s final approval is sought. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 7 – just about 3 years after the lawsuit itself was first filed.

But there is still significant cause for celebration now, Rapinoe told ESPN. “This is a win for us. And this is a win for the players, for the next generation, for women’s players around the world.”