US Soccer, USWNT players extend CBA, end NWSL salary allocation system

US women's soccer team (USWNT) at the Tokyo Olympics
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The USWNT Players Association and U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Monday that the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) had been extended through the end of March via a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The current CBA was set to expire on December 31, 2021.

U.S. Soccer said in its press release that they “hope and believe that CBA negotiations will be completed much sooner than March 31, 2022.”

As part of Monday’s announcement, both sides also announced an end to the current USSF-supported NWSL allocation system that has been in place since the league was launched in 2012.

Under the allocation system, USWNT-allocated players had their NWSL salaries paid by U.S. Soccer. These USSF-funded salaries were nearly twice the current NWSL maximum salary of $52,500.

But the allocation system also limited the number of USWNT players who were allowed to play abroad, where contracts can be much more lucrative.

“Dissolving the USSF-supported NWSL Allocation system means that, going forward, USWNT Players will have no restrictions as to the league in which they play club soccer,” the USWNTPA said in a statement. “Players who choose the NWSL will sign directly with the NWSL / an NWSL Club and will be employed by the NWSL, therefore becoming members of the NWSLPA.”

Some players have already made this transition. Earlier this year, USWNT allocated players Lindsey Horan and Crystal Dunn both signed contracts directly with the Portland Thorns. Four Chicago Red Stars players – Tierna Davidson, Casey Krueger, Alyssa Naeher, and Mallory Pugh – did the same last week.

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Jeff Kassouf of the Equalizer reported that all four Red Stars players were paid using allocation money, a tool that allows NWSL teams to pay specific players above the current NWSL salary cap.

As part of the change, USWNT players will be represented by the NWSL Players Association – rather than the USWNTPA – while playing for their NWSL club teams.

The NWSLPA is currently aiming to establish the league’s first ever collective bargaining agreement. In an interview with On Her Turf last week, NWSLPA President Tori Huster said she is hopeful the CBA will be done by the beginning of preseason heading into the upcoming NWSL season.

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