As the reigning World Cup and Olympic champions, the U.S. women's soccer team generated almost $20 million more in revenue than their male counterparts last year. That success, however, is not reflected female players' paychecks: They take home nearly four times less than players on the men's team, according to a complaint filed by five soccer stars on the women's team.
The complaint against U.S. Soccer—filed jointly by U.S. Women's National Team co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan, goalkeeper Hope Solo, and midfield Megan Rapinoe—said that despite the fact that the women's team makes more money for the sport, female players are compensated far less than their male counterparts.
"The numbers speak for themselves," Solo said in the complaint. "We are the best in the world ... and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships."
Despite female players' strong performance, soccer has lagged behind other sports like tennis in terms of progress on the issue of equal pay. No players on the women's team were ranked among this year's list of the 23 richest female athletes in the world. And U.S. Soccer isn't the only offending organization: The salary cap of $265,000 for the National Women's Soccer League is about 11 times less that in men's Major League Soccer.
The highest-paid American female soccer star is Morgan, who reportedly made $450,000 last year. While that's certainty a hefty payday, it pales in comparison to the earnings of some male players who take home tens of millions after you factor in endorsements.
Here are the 10 highest-paid female soccer stars in the world:
Marta Vieira da Silva
The Brazilian born soccer star who often goes by the single name Marta plays for the Brazilian National Team, but plays professionally in Sweden. She commanded the whopping salary of nearly $400,000 from her previous team, Tyresö FF, although the salary was reportedly paid by sponsors. Tyresö FF disbanded for financial reasons, but Viera stayed in Sweden by signing with FC Rosengård.
One of the stars of the US Women's World Cup Team, Morgan plays professionally for the Portland Thorns in the US National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Sportsgoogly.com reports that Morgan's salary was increased to $450,000; if true, that must be through subsidies or sponsors as the NWSL is salary-capped at $200,000 per team. Whatever her salary is, she's making more in endorsements, with estimates ranging above $1 million.
The world-record holder for international goals (men or women) recently announced that 2015 is her last run on the US World Cup team. She last played professionally for the Western New York Flash in the 2014 NWSL season and is taking the 2015 season off to prepare for the World Cup. Reports of her salary range from $190,000 to $300,000 — again, most likely through sponsorships.
Born in Surrey, British Columbia, Leroux now plays for the US World Cup team and plays professionally for the Western New York Flash. Estimates of her salary range from $60,000 to $92,500.
Of mixed Cameroonian and German descent, Banecki plays for the German World Cup team as well as SC Freiburg in the German football league (Bundesliga). Her salary is listed at $90,000.
Henry plays defensive midfield for the French club Olympique Lyon, and is an important member of the French World Cup team, having scored an amazingly long goal against Mexico in the 2015 World Cup. Henry's estimated salary range is from $60,000-$70,000.
Known for her distinctive haircut, Fischer plays for both VfL Wolfsburg in the German league and the Swedish national team. Fischer's salary is approximately $65,000.
The controversial yet talented US World Cup goalkeeper and wife of former Seattle Seahawks (NFL) tight end Jerramy Stevens plays professionally for the Seattle Reign of the NWSL. Estimates of Solo's salary vary greatly, from $22,000 to $65,000.
Filigno gets the exciting chance to play for the 2015 World Cup in her native Canada as part of the Canadian World Cup team. She also plays professionally for Sky Blue FC in the NWSL (on the campus of Rutgers University in New Jersey). Filigno's salary is approximately $60,000.
Boulleau plays for Paris St.-Germain in the French league as well as playing for the French World Cup team. Boulleau's salary is estimated at $60,000.
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