Women’s Team earned significantly less than the male players last year
Five of the biggest names on the team listed on the lawsuit
Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo, five of the biggest names on the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) and reigning 2015 World Cup champions, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation on Wednesday, demanding equal pay for equal work and calling for an official investigation of what they believe to be the Federation’s discriminatory wage practices.
The complaint from the five superstars, coming less than nine months after the team hoisted up the gold trophy at the 2015 World Cup, emphasizes they were taking action on behalf of the entire national team.
“Every single day we sacrifice just as much as the men. We work just as much,” standout forward Morgan explained on NBC’s “Today” Thursday morning. “We endure just as much physically and emotionally. Our fans really do appreciate us every day for that. We saw that with the high of last summer. We’re really asking, and demanding now, that our federation, and our employer really, step up and appreciate us as well.”
According to espnW, the discrepancy in earnings is astonishing; if women win each of the minimum 20 friendlies they are required to play annually to be eligible for the World Cup and the men lose the same number of matches, the men’s side still earns more than the women’s team, with men getting at least an additional $5,000 for each contest they play over that baseline. The women receive no additional pay for additional games played.
“I’ve been on this team for a decade and a half, and I’ve been through numerous CBA negotiations, and honestly, not much has changed,” Solo said. “We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, to get paid for doing it.
“In this day and age, it’s about equality. It’s about equal rights. It’s about equal pay. We’re pushing for that. We believe now the time is right because we believe it’s our responsibility for women’s sports and specifically for women’s soccer to do whatever it takes to push for equal pay and equal rights. And to be treated with respect.”
Perhaps the most grotesque double standard came in the performance earnings from each of their respective finishes in the World Cup.
The U.S. Soccer Federation’s response was swift, albeit deliberately ambiguous:
“While we’ve not seen this complaint and can’t comment on the specifics of it, we’re disappointed about this action,” the U.S. Soccer Federation stated in response to the filing. “We’ve been a world leader in women’s soccer and are proud of the commitment we’ve made to building the women’s game in the United States over the past 30 years.”
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 31, 2016
For the USWNT, it would seem the complaint isn’t merely about money but about the message attached. As the women broke record after record last summer, as they captivated audiences around the world, after being told by POTUS that they are “badass,” they are still, predictably so, treated and compensated as lesser-than their male counterparts.
“The numbers speak for themselves. We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships,” said Solo “and the men get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”