Letter from WVU coach prompts bill to guarantee equal pay for U.S. soccer teams

Staff Report

PARKERSBURG — A senator from West Virginia is making a kick over pay inequities between the men’s and women’s teams in the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Sen. Joe Manchin introduced a bill prohibiting federal funds from being spent on the 2026 World Cup in the United States until the federation agrees to equitable pay for the men’s and women’s national teams. The prohibition would include funds to host cities, participating local and state organizations, the U.S. Soccer Federation, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football and the Federation Internationale de Football Association.

Manchin said he proposed the legislation after Nikki Izzo-Brown, coach of the West Virginia University women’s soccer team, wrote him a letter.

“I received a letter from Coach Izzo-Brown highlighting her worries that women on the WVU Women’s Soccer Team could one day make the U.S. women’s team and not get paid the same as the men’s team,” Manchin said. “That’s just plain wrong.”

The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team last week won a fourth World Cup. In March, the women’s team sued the federation claiming gender bias and pay inequities with the men’s team.

“The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team latest victory is causing public outcry,” Manchin said.

The letter from Izzo-Brown seeks Manchin’s support for equal pay for the women’s natonal soccer team. While the women have won four titles, the men’s team has won none and the women’s team in the World Cup final surpassed viewership of the men’s team by around three million viwers, she said.

“Working with women as the women’s soccer coach at West Virginia University for over 24 years and earning 17 conference championships, 20 NCAA appearances and producing 25 professional players, I believe first hand, it is wrong for the U.S. Soccer women to be paid and valued less for their work because of gender,” Izzo-Brown said.