RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While gender pay gaps still largely exist, it’s narrowing in the world of women’s sports. On Wednesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation came to an agreement to pay athletes on the women and men’s national teams equally.

Included in the deal is an agreement to pool and share a portion of prize money paid for the teams’ participation in the 2023 Women’s World Cup and the 2022 Men’s World Cup.

Sean Nahas, the coach for Cary’s North Carolina Courage, said the deal is long overdue. Some of the players on his team are part of the U.S. Women’s National Team roster.

“I think it sets a great standard,” Nahas said.

Nahas believes the agreement sends a message that no matter who you are or what your gender is, you deserve equal pay for equal work.

“The women have had unbelievable success. They’ve been the best in the world for decades. How it took this long to get here, I don’t know,” Nahas said.

While it took a long time to get here, it’s not what Nahas wants to focus on.

Rather, he wants to focus on what it means for athletes in the future.

Nahas hopes the agreement creates opportunities for growth beyond the game. He wants corporations to see something the value of women athletes have and to invest in them.

Nahas also hopes the deal and the opportunities it affords will allow players to focus on the game, their skills and careers.

CBS News reports that American women received a $110,000 bonus for winning the 2019 World Cup. Had the men’s team won its 2018 World Cup, it would’ve received a $407,000 bonus.

The lawsuit filed by the U.S. Women’s National Team said its players made $15,000 for making the World Cup team in 2013. Players on the men’s’ team earned $55,000 for making the team in 2014 and $68,750 in 2018.

“They shouldn’t have to take other jobs to make a living, to take care of their kids,” Nahas said. “They shouldn’t have to worry about what’s going to happen when they’re done playing (either).”

The agreement will benefit some of the athletes in his own locker, but it may also reassure young, aspiring female athletes of the opportunities in sports.

“Believe in what you believe in and fight for it. Don’t take ‘No’ for an answer,” Nahas said. “If the women took ‘No’ for an answer, they would have been done three, five, six, 10 years ago.”