US soccer teams sign equal pay deal after USWNT’s victory over Nigeria

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The US women’s national team and representatives for their male counterparts formally signed the collective bargaining agreements struck in May with US Soccer that gives players on both sides equal pay on Tuesday night. The ceremony was staged after the USWNT’s match against Nigeria.

“Contrary to what it may seem like, we don’t love to be in these fights,” Megan Rapinoe told the Washington Post. “We’d much rather focus on what we need to, which is winning and winning World Cups and continuing to be the best team we can. That’s not up to us. If everybody else wants to stop this, it’d be great.”

In the match itself, super sub Rose Lavelle scored the winner and the US won their 13th straight match with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria. The United States also benefitted from an own goal to extend the team’s unbeaten streak on American soil to 71 matches.

Related: England finish qualifiers with perfect 10 as Stanway sparks Luxembourg rout

The teams first met on Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas, and the United States came away with a 4-0 victory. Nigeria were missing six starters because of injuries and visa issues.

The own goal gave the United States an early lead in the 24th minute, but Nigeria equalized on Uchenna Kanu’s score after the break.

It was the first goal that the United States has given up this year. The goal also snapped a nine-game clean sheet streak for the Americans.

The United States pulled back in front with Lavelle’s header off a cross from Megan Rapinoe in the 66th minute. It was Lavelle’s fourth goal of the year.

Rapinoe came in as a second-half substitute and was on the field for just 73 seconds before her key assist.

“I will start first with with Pinoe’s first touch and cross. I thought that was world class. But I still don’t know how Rose managed to get her head on the ball. It was absolutely incredible,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said.

Related: When Megan Rapinoe met Ada Hegerberg: ‘Euro 2022? Everyone was late to the party’

Both teams are preparing for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The United States qualified for the World Cup at the Concacaf W Championship in July. The team won the tournament title to also secure a berth in the 2024 Olympics.

The US have won the last two World Cups and has four titles overall.

Nigeria, one of the most successful women’s teams in Africa, qualified for the 2023 World Cup by advancing to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in July. The Super Falcons finished fourth in the tournament.

Nigeria have advanced to every World Cup since the tournament started in 1991. Currently, the team is coached by Randy Waldrum, former coach of the NWSL’s Houston Dash.

“I’m very proud of the team and how they handled it, because I do know that there will be moments like this when it matters, and the fact that they figured out a way to get a goal and win the game is very good for us,” Andonovski said about the friendly match. “But we did learn a big lesson, that when we create opportunities early, we need to put them away because otherwise, we can we can go through the moments like we did in the second half.”

The United States heads to Europe for their next match against England at Wembley Stadium on 7 October. The recently crowned European champions will enter that meeting on a head of steam after hammering 10 goals past Luxembourg to conclude their World Cup qualifying campaign earlier Tuesday.