WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) and nearly a dozen of their colleagues introduced the Give Our Athletes Level Salaries (GOALS) Act, which would require the U.S. Soccer Federation to agree to providing equitable pay to both the women’s and men’s national teams in order to receive federal funds related to the 2026 World Cup.
“The U.S. Women’s Soccer team are reigning champions on the field, but also champions in leading the national conversation on equal pay,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to support the GOALS Act to close the inexcusable pay gap between female and male athletes, bolstering our collective efforts on gender equity and equality.”
“Our athletes deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and they also deserve to be appropriately compensated for their achievements — no matter their gender,” said Senator Van Hollen. “We must heed the call of our national team players to end gender pay inequities once and for all, which is why I support this bill and will continue working in Congress to close the gender pay gap.”
While federal funds are not directly appropriated toward U.S. Soccer, there are a variety of ways that federal funding will likely be used by U.S. Soccer and its affiliates, including FIFA and CONCACAF, during the next World Cup in 2026, which will be hosted in part by in the United States. This would include any and all funds provided to host cities; participating local and state organizations; the U.S. Soccer Federation, Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
Senators Cardin and Van Hollen introduced the legislation with Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
Background information on the GOALS Act can be found here.
Bill text can be found here.