US women's national soccer team to receive Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at ESPYS

The USWNT will be honored for its fight for equal pay with the men's soccer team.

ESPN logo
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
US women's soccer team scores landmark deal for equal pay
The U.S. Soccer Federation reached milestone agreements to pay its men's and women's teams equally, making the American national governing body the first in the sport to promise both sexes matching money.

The U.S. women's national soccer team will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at The ESPYS on Wednesday.

The award, which goes to a deserving person or group in the sporting world who makes a difference far beyond the field of play, will recognize the team's ongoing pursuit of equal pay.

In May 2022, unions for players on the U.S. women's and men's national teams approved new collective bargaining agreements with the U.S. Soccer Federation that afford the women's team equal pay for international competition, including World Cup bonuses. The CBAs went into effect last June and run through 2028.

U.S. Women's National Team members celebrate following their victory in the penalty shoot-out after the Women's Quarter Final match on July 30, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Since then, the USWNT has continued to leverage its platform to raise awareness around pay inequity and social injustices in the United States.

The team will receive the award days before the Women's World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand. This marks star Megan Rapinoe's fourth and final World Cup before she retires at the end of the season.

Rapinoe expressed that she believes women's sports are on the verge of historic transformation.

"It feels like this is a paradigm shift, a moment we'll look back to and say, 'Nothing was the same after this Women's World Cup,'" she told reporters at USWNT's pre-tournament media day in June.

Past recipients of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage include Muhammad Ali (1997), Billie Jean King (1999), former president Nelson Mandela (2009), Caitlyn Jenner (2015), Bill Russell (2019), and Vitali Klitschko (2022).

The world's best athletes and biggest stars will join ESPN for The 2023 ESPY Awards, airing July 12 at 8|7c on ABC.

ABC Owned TV Stations contributed to this report.