Jill Ellis has the United States on the verge of its second straight World Cup title, as well as a fourth overall. The Americans play the Netherlands Sunday at Grande Stade Olympique Lyonnais at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Fox.
Since taking over the national team in 2014, she has taken a program that hadn’t won a World Cup since 1999 and turned it into the Golden State Warriors of women’s international soccer. Despite this, controversy has surfaced over the last couple of years about the pay disparity between her and her less successful male counterparts.
According to The Equalizer, Ellis made far less than both Jurgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena. Both no longer manage the men’s team after failing to even qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Ellis was paid $291,029, per records, though the Washington Post’s Steven Goff reports that Ellis signed a new contract last year — one which the federation did not publicize — which gave Ellis a “substantial increase” to her salary. The exact number won’t be known until the next round of tax records come out next year.
Meanwhile, Klinsmann was paid $3.354 million for the last year of his contract, while Arena had a base salary of $899,348 and received another $300,000 after resigning in October 2017.
Ellis has reportedly signed a new contract that substantially increased her pay, but this will not be known until tax records are released next year.
The current men’s coach is Gregg Berhalter, whose salary is not public information at this time. However, his brother Jay, the “chief commercial and strategy officer” for USA Soccer earns nearly double of Ellis’ salary from last year.
While Berhalter the coach hasn’t commented on the pay gap between the men’s and women’s teams, he has been public with his praise of Ellis and company during their 2019 World Cup run.
“I think it’s a very dynamic attack,” he told Stars and Stripes. “I like how intent they are at getting forward, playing forward, a lot of forward momentum in their game.”
The USWNT’s Lawsuit Against USA Soccer
Our own Jonathan Adams wrote a piece today about the pay gap between the men’s and women’s teams. Yahoo Sports reported last month that USWNT filed a lawsuit against USA Soccer for the disparity. Both parties have entered mediation.
USWNT members claimed in a recent lawsuit that their maximum salary in a typical year is $99,000 ($4,950 per game) if the team played and won 20 exhibition matchups, per Goal.com. Given the same circumstances, the men’s team would earn $263,320 ($13,166 per game) the lawsuit states.
Two weeks ago, the Guardian studied pay discrepancies between the men’s and women’s teams. Should the Americans would the World Cup, the max earnings for a each women’s player would be $200,000, while the men would hypothetically rake in $1.1 million each. The USWNT would also get a four-game victory tour which means players would earn an additional $60,869, per The Guardian.
The massive difference in pay is tied to the FIFA purses. France earned $38 million for winning the 2018 World Cup, while the USA or Netherlands will earn $4 million for their win. This number is double the $2 million the USWNT earned after their 2015 World Cup title.
The women’s team draws much higher ratings than the men’s team, and theoretically more ad revenue. Should the men ever win the World Cup, they would benefit from an international soccer community that values the men’s sport more than the women’s.
This is what the USWNT is fighting against in its lawsuit.