WASHINGTON (WDVM) — On Tuesday, U.S. women soccer players reached a landmark agreement that ended a six-year legal battle over equal play in the sport.

“Hopefully, this can be a dawn of a new day at U.S. soccer because they certainly need to be much better,” said Megan Rapinoe, U.S. women’s soccer player. “And I think this is the perfect starting point.”

This landmark agreement also ensures the women’s national team will be provided the same pay rate as the men’s team in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.

“It should have happened way before now, but what I think this does is it illuminates that this is still very much an issue,” said Caroline Dettman, Founding Partner of HaveHerBack Consulting. “And so if you think about it, women overall make 79% of what their male peers make, and that’s a very Caucasian number.”

Taylor Lister is a former soccer player, and like many girls, she grew up dreaming of playing professionally. But quickly realized the need to focus on other goals outside of the sport after noticing the lack of opportunities compared to men.

“When we were young and playing, a lot of people focused more than men, especially in schools. They focused on more of the guys because they thought they were more competitive,” said Listen. “But in actuality, as we played and got older, I swear, the girls were more competitive.”

Apart from the deal, the U.S. Soccer Federation also agreed to establish a fund with $2 million to benefit the players in their post-soccer careers and charitable efforts to grow the sport for women for generations to come. 

“There’s so much hope for people coming up behind these ladies, right? Like all of the athletes that have been out there trying to make a career out of this and not just a career, but also legacy,” said Elena Armijo, Executive & Leadership Coach at The C Suite Collective.

The settlement is contingent on ratifying a new collective bargaining agreement between the USWNT and U.S. soccer.