The basis of the USWNT’s argument for equality was clear: they deserve better payment in comparison to the Men’s National Team based on their achievements. So, what exactly did it take for them win? Well, it took perseverance and good lawyers.
The document used to bind the US Soccer Federation and national team players is called a CBA, or Collective Bargaining Agreement. A CBA is a special type of commercial agreement, usually negotiated “collectively” between a company (in this case USSF) and trade unions (on behalf of the players). So the player’s union protected the rights of the players and awarded them with legal assistance to go up against the federation when the current CBA expired. So this time they entered negotiations in a different way: very direct and more demanding.
In an article about the matter on December of 2016, Hope Solo explains that this time was their time to stand strong until they get what they deserve because the US Soccer Federation does not provide any real reasons for why they should not be paid equally, except for the fact that they are women: https://sports.good.is/articles/hope-solo-us-womens-soccer-cba.
Here is a look at the new and improved agreement which was reached in April of 2017, after a long and daunting fight: http://equalizersoccer.com/2017/04/19/some-details-emerge-on-new-cba-negotiations/.
This new CBA between the USSF and USWNT includes higher pay, new benefits, provisions of the National Women’s Soccer League to make it stronger and also helps secure that players do not miss club games.
The United States Women’s National Team won their battle against their federation by being strong, direct, demanding and using their leverage points with the help of the players union. This is something that other professional players and teams can look up to, not only because of their guts, but also because they are all members of the player’s union which served as insurance for them when they needed legal help to make their case. I think that every soccer female player who wants to be a professional needs to contact their closest player’s union and become a member, because we never know when we will run into trouble with faulty contracts and unpaid dues and having insurance for that could be a life (or career) saver.