US Women’s Soccer Team Rallies for Equal Pay


The United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) are known to win battles; they’ve conquered the World Cup, they’ve dominated the Olympics, and they’re ranked as the best in the world. However their latest crusade may be the most important of all: it’s the decision to pursue legal action for gender equality with their employers, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).

Five notable players of the USWNT team have filed a federal complaint against the USSF for wage discrimination, calling for an investigation of the federation. The players are members of a team ranked #1 in the world by FIFA, yet are paid almost four times less than the historically mediocre male U.S. association.

The five stars: co-captains Becky Sauerbrunn and Carli Lloyd, goalkeeper Hope Solo, striker Alex Morgan, and midfielder Megan Rapinoe worked together with Jeffrey Kessler, one of the nation’s most prominent sports lawyers, to file this complaint. Though these five signed the charge, the decision to file was advocated for by the entire team. The case was submitted to the federal agency Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday evening.

“These women are very disappointed in U.S. soccer,” Kessler said. “When they asked for the same treatment as the men, they were told it was irrational. Now that might be a good answer in 1816. It’s not [an] acceptable answer in 2016.”

Comparisons in figures rewarded among the two gender teams are simply shocking. According to Sports Illustrated, in a friendly played, the men are paid up to $17,625 for a win per player and $5,000 for a loss; however the Gals receive a mere $1,350 for a win and nothing for a loss nor tie. Some may argue the men’s game is more popular and therefore deserves the income, yet it’s the 2015 Women’s World Cup final that holds the record for most-watched soccer match of the United States. The women also generated $20 million more in revenue than the men in 2015 (note: this was the year of the women’s world cup, but not the men) but can still be paid 62% less. The disparities are evident.

The players of the USWNT have taken to social platforms to promote and argue their position. Using the hashtag #equalplayequalpay, their movement is taking the media by a storm. Public figures from Hillary Clinton to Jaime King have reached out on Twitter to show their support as well, expressing their opposition towards such discrimination.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” star goalkeeper Hope Solo said. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”