Courtesy US Soccer Communications:
To our fans:
2021 was a year of both great promise and challenge.
On the field, our National Teams continued to excel at the highest levels across all competitions. For the sixth consecutive year, our Women’s National Team finished the year ranked No. 1 in the world, winning the 2021 SheBelieves Cup and earning a Bronze medal at the Olympics. And our Men’s National Team set a record for most wins in a calendar year, winning the Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup and entering the new year in a strong position to qualify for the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar.
Last year was an important year for our leadership team at U.S. Soccer as we worked to establish a stronger foundation to support the long-term growth and evolution of soccer in the United States. These efforts were headlined by our new, landmark agreement with Nike announced in November – which represents the most significant commercial partnership in the history of U.S. Soccer, as well as one of the largest investments in soccer around the world.
Although progress was made on several fronts in 2021, the year was also marked by profound challenges, including the allegations of unconscionable abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League. U.S. Soccer hired former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Attorney General of the United States Sally Yates to lead an independent investigation into this matter. As she and her team do this important work, we remain committed to giving them the access and resources they need to follow the truth wherever it may lead.
2021 also saw U.S. Soccer continue to work toward resolution of the litigation brought by the Women’s National Team. U.S. Soccer remains committed to resolving this case outside of court for the long-term benefit of the sport at all levels. We would happily agree to settle so that we can focus on working together to chart a more positive and collaborative path forward.
Identical Contract & Equalizing Prize MoneyAs we have over the last several months, U.S. Soccer will continue to share regular updates on our efforts to reach new labor agreements that equalize FIFA World Cup prize money between our Women’s and Men’s National Teams. I speak for our entire leadership team when I say we are ready and willing to meet with both groups of players as often as needed to get these deals done.
In September, we offered identical contract proposals to the men’s and women’s players associations, with the goal of aligning both teams under a single collective bargaining agreement (CBA) structure. Our proposal ensured that our Women’s and Men’s National Team players remain among the highest-paid in the world, in part by providing a first-ever revenue sharing structure. In November, we sat down with both unions together for the first time ever and proposed good faith solutions for achieving this goal.
While we haven’t received a commitment from either union to move forward with a single pay structure, we have been encouraged that they are willing to join us in discussions about that possibility as we continue to negotiate separate CBAs with each for now.
Additionally, we are still focused on taking the important step of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money, and will not agree to any collective bargaining agreement that does not include that commitment from the two unions.
USWNT CBA NegotiationsWe have been encouraged by the constructive nature of our recent CBA negotiations with the Women’s National Team. These discussions have benefited greatly from the consistent and active participation of the women’s players at the bargaining table. Last month, we agreed to extend the negotiation window under their current CBA until March 31, 2022. We believe this development reflects our collective ability to work together and the urgency of both sides to reach a new agreement.
USMNT CBA NegotiationsWe still have much work ahead of us in our negotiations with representatives for the Men’s National Team, and we hope they continue to engage in these important discussions. Given their vocal support for our shared commitment to equal pay and the fact that they continue to play under a CBA that expired over three years ago, we trust the Men’s National Team shares our goal of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money and sense of urgency about getting a deal done.
Looking AheadTo find a solution, particularly on equalizing FIFA World Cup Prize money, we need everyone off the sidelines and into the game. We will continue to invite the Men’s National Team to participate in each of our bargaining sessions with the Women’s National Team, including five sessions this month alone, and we hope that the men’s recent participation signals their willingness to be more regularly involved moving forward.
We strongly believe it is in everyone’s best interest to find a way to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money and move forward with a single pay structure – and to do so as soon as possible.
As we build on important progress made in 2021, our commitment to you – our fans – is that we remain laser-focused on putting these remaining building blocks in place for the good of the game at all levels of play. We continue to be inspired by your passion and are enormously grateful for your support.
With every new year comes new opportunities, and we look forward to what we can achieve – together.
Cindy Parlow ConeU.S. Soccer President
My take on this, above may just be the first time I have ever typed out an asterisk, much less a whole row of them.
First this came out at 11:34 yesterday, then about 90 minutes later an announcement that the Prez. & CEO would be in a press opportunity at 4? Also around this time time I received one from the IOC, to be held 23:45 later, not during the Draft for the domestic pro men's league of their actual sport. Who were they expecting to attend, not just one so short of a notice but this rather than that? Yes, I sat on this for a day rather than write really bad things, now we get pretty bad.
I spoke to others who have been in the industry for decades, one thought has been, they really don't want to deal with harsh questions, so this will keep many of those away. Another common idea is that they reach out privately to their favorites, then just 'cause they really should, they put it out to all. I refuse to think that they did not know of this draft event going on, it was scheduled many months in advance and should be on their collective minds and oh yes even schedules, it was on mine? This here short notice is a common happening, yet oh so rare in the "Real World", my Zooms, etc. get more than a week advance to all concerned, I am sure my repeated announcements get under the skin of more than a few. On the flip side, I invite these same people to my events, nary a reply, today, for one tomorrow, I will call all after a noon media event with the USWNT HC again well under 24 hours notice, around 20, big time here.
Enough of that now for this fine piece of literature distributed yesterday. For the record, I do not prefer Cindy over Carlos, actually prefer neither, same as the last few US Presidential elections.
For openers, was this a New Year message, or a response to recent statements put out by her opponent as she runs for election again? The timing to me is suspect, like when politicians suddenly send you details on local happenings as primary or election day comes nearer, all with their name and image all over the mailer.
She goes into the good, bad and horribly ugly of the year that was 2021, hitting big time on the poor treatment of the women athletes at the highest of levels in her federation. Was she never reached out to on this, a former player, WNT standout, heard nary a peep on these horrors being done by those younger than her in the same positions she had been in not so long ago? Yes, many do in fact predate her, but others continued. Yes the Federation did take action, a bit late perhaps, but in stripping away certification as a coach in at least one instance was a proper move, for openers.
As to the lawsuits, I am not privy to the numbers being knocked around but, many millions have been paid out in legal fees, a settlement is mentioned, I have a bad feeling that the legal fees will outstrip the settlement, if they have not already in regards to the WNT. Not the same with ICC & NASL I am sure.
With regard to the FIFA World Cup dollars, though the US has some power in FIFA, they may fight the good fight and it sounds good, but I do not see the monies paid out being equal, they do not raise the same dollars. Worldwide the men's game dwarfs the women's and they play more games.
If I am either then MNT or WNT, I do NOT want the same deal. Simply the one that is best for me, revenue sharing for me does not work, I do not want your your $ likewise do not want you to get mine. As stands, many deals do include both teams. She states the Federation wont agree to a CBA that does not equalize World Cup monies, not a good line to draw in the sand as if FIFA pays out more to one or the other, do you forfeit some of your hard earned dollars for the sake of equality?
As to both CBA's, the men are some 1,000 days without one, the WNT extended theirs until the end of March. USSF hopes the men share in a goal of equal money, not if it cuts their potential paydays they should not, and FIFA is not really up to pay out a dime more than they must, the federation has not played well with FIFA World Cup money. We did an interview with a lawyer who knew of funds not allocated by the Federation to clubs members of the USWNT played for in the past, the groups, including local Auburndale, had to know to seek out such monies.