The National Women’s Soccer League announced today that the league and the NWSL Players Association have agreed to their first-ever Collective Bargaining Agreement covering the next five seasons through 2026. The deal signals the collective commitment of owners and players to work in partnership as the NWSL continues its rapid growth. The agreement is subject to final approval from the NWSL Board of Governors.
Commenting on the agreement on behalf of the NWSL Board of Governors, NWSL Interim CEO Marla Messing stated: “This is a historic moment for women’s soccer in the United States. This transformative agreement represents deserved advancements for our players, including significantly stronger compensation packages and benefits, enhanced training and playing environments, and a long-term commitment to continually improve the standards we all regard as essential to securing our position as the best women’s soccer league in the world. Our owners are committed to providing the significant and unprecedented investment required to build and sustain a professional women’s soccer league that properly supports our players, both as professional soccer players and as individuals. We thank the NWSLPA leadership and the players for their thoughtful approach on the CBA and look forward to continuing to collaborate with them to create the best environment for our players to succeed.”
The primary terms of the CBA, which are summarized below, and are projected to require an additional incremental investment by NWSL owners of nearly $100 million, include:
- Increased total investment in players
The NWSL will increase investment in (1) player salaries, raising the minimum salary by almost 60% year-over-year to $35,000 and implementing salary increases for all players (2) total compensation, including salary, free housing, transportation, fully-vested 401(k) contributions, health, life and disability insurance, among other material benefits, raising the average total compensation by more than 30% to $54,000 compared to the 2021 season (3) increases in the numbers of and amounts of player bonuses (4) compensation to players for certain promotional and commercial appearances and (5) revenue sharing, introducing the opportunity for players to receive 10% of the net broadcast revenues, if the league is profitable in years 3, 4, and 5 of the CBA.
- Introduction of free agency beginning in 2023
The NWSL will introduce free agency in accordance with the following eligibility:
- In 2023, individuals who have six years of service with the NWSL will receive full Free Agency;
- In 2024, individuals who have three years of service in the NWSL will receive Restricted Free Agency; and
- In 2024, individuals who have five years of service in the NWSL will receive full Free Agency.
- Defined season, vacation time, and other leave
Players are ensured a fixed season with start and end windows, as well as limits on the maximum number of games in a season and on the frequency of games. Additionally, players will be guaranteed 42 days of vacation, a seven-day summer break (in season), parental leave for new birth or adoptive parents, leave and salary continuation for pregnant players, and mental health leave for players who need it for up to 6 months.
- Improved health and wellness benefits
All teams will provide the services of, at minimum, a team physician, massage therapist, sports scientist, sports psychologist, and team clinician to provide mental health services. The league will employ a physician as its Medical Director.
- Enhanced group license provisions
The NWSL will commit $255,000 – $300,000 per year for group license rights.
Commenting on behalf of the league’s owners:
“We purchased our team a year ago and have committed to delivering for our players, club, and city,” said Kansas City Current Co-Owner Angie Long. “This CBA represents a league-wide partnership between owners and players to deliver on our shared mission of building the greatest league in the world.”
“This historic agreement formalizes a partnership between owners, front offices and players that is absolutely critical for our league’s long-term growth and success,” said Ed Nalbandian, NJ/NY Gotham FC Owner and Vice-Chair. “I want to thank the players and NWSLPA Executive Director Meghann Burke for the partnership they’ve exhibited in negotiating an agreement that prioritizes player safety, club accountability, and the financial well-being of our players and league. We’re all in this together, and I want to thank my fellow owners for committing the resources that our players so richly deserve. I also want to thank our representatives at the negotiating table, namely Brad Estes, John Walker, and Gotham FC’s own Yael Averbuch, whose expertise and unique perspective proved invaluable.”
For more information on the NWSL fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: