Illustration by Brian Lutz for Time (Source Photos: Getty Images (3))
May 23, 2022 6:06 AM EDT

More than 50 years after the Original Nine of women’s pro tennis signed symbolic $1 contracts and changed sports history forever, the battle for pay equity in sports continues—and the baton has been passed to Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.

These women have shown up and spoken up. When they were not recognized for their accomplishments, and not paid equally to the men’s team, they vowed to drag soccer to the right side of history.

Standing on the shoulders of the 1999ers—legends like Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Brandi Chastain, and the team that put soccer in the national spotlight—Megan, Becky, and Alex led their teammates to a historic victory and backed it up with their world-class performance on the field. After a six-year legal battle, they secured a $24 million settlement and the acknowledgment of discrimination—and in May agreed to a landmark contract that guarantees equal pay and prize money.

It was the biggest win of their lives. And something tells me they are not done yet.

King is the founder of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Women’s Tennis Association

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