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U.S. women

Players sign new contract that carries through 2012.

(Wednesday, January 4, 2006) -- The United States women's national-team players reached agreement today for a new contract that would extend through 2012.

The contract, negotiated by the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Players' Association, calls for the U.S. Soccer Federation to pay at least $1.28 million annually to players in a residency, Associated Pres reported. At least 14 of these 20 players would be guaranteed annual salaries of $70,000 with the six others assured of being paid at least $50,000.

Additionally, the USSF would have the option of employing up to four more players at $30,000 per year and would have the right to call in other players for trials lasting up to six weeks.

"It is wonderful to have the contract signed and behind us," U.S. midfielder and captain Kristine Lilly said in a USSF press release. "This is an important year for the team as we begin focusing first on qualifying for the next Women's World Cup and then winning a world championship in China in 2007.

Additionally, players would earn $1,000 bonuses for victories in all non-World Cup and non-Olympic games, AP reported. For the 2007 Women's World Cup and the 2008 Olympics, each player would get $10,000 for being on each qualifying tournament roster; $10,000 for making the 20-woman roster for each tournament, $50,000 for finishing first in each event, $20,000 for placing second and $10,000 for taking third place.

Should the Americans win either the Olympics or the Women's World Cup, the players would split $1.2 million for a 10-game celebration tour.

The U.S. won the Women's World Cup in 1991 and 1999, and took gold medals in the 1996 and 2004 Summer Olympics. The next Women's World Cup will be in China in 2007, followed by the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. The new contract also covers the 2011 Women's World Cup and 2012 London Olympics.

"This is a groundbreaking contract," USSF president Bob Contiguglia said. "U.S. Soccer has been a leader and an innovator in the world of women's athletics through the years and will continue to be so as the team takes the field with the goal of recapturing the Women's World Cup in 2007."

Under the agreement, players can take maternity leave at 50 percent of salary. Additionally, each player will receive a housing allowance and a stipend. In the contract, the USSF agreed to keep the women's team in residency annually, except for the year following each Olympics because fewer games are played then.

If a new women's soccer league is launched, the USSF will pay reduced salaries. The Women's United Soccer Association launched in 2001, following the enthusiasm that followed the highly-successful 1999 Women's World Cup, but the league folded after three seasons because of substantial losses.

The U.S. men agreed to a new contract last month, a deal that carries through the 2010 World Cup.

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