Top Women’s Soccer Players Take US Soccer to Court

Top Women’s Soccer Players Take US Soccer to Court

Just months before they are set to defend their world title on the global stage, the members of United States' women's national soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer on Friday, accusing the national federation for the sport of paying members of the women's team worse and subjecting them to inferior working conditions than their male counterparts.

When the team The U.S. women's soccer team has seen great worldwide successes, including three World Cup championships and four Olympic gold medals.

The lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Los Angeles on Friday, seeks equal pay and treatment, in addition to damages including back pay.

Twenty-eight members of the women's team are named as plaintiffs, including numerous sport's biggest stars: Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.

US Soccer did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

"In light of our team's unparalleled success on the field, it's a shame that we still are fighting for treatment that reflects our achievements and contributions to the sport", said USA co-captain Carli Lloyd. However, its representatives said in a statement that the association "supports the plaintiffs' goal of eliminating gender-based discrimination by USSF". They are seeking equal pay and treatment, along with payment for lost earnings over the years. They claim the organization pays them less than male players and denies them equal training, travel and playing conditions.

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But direct comparisons of compensation between the men and women can be tricky, as The New York Times notes: "Each team has its own collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer, and among the major differences are pay structure: the men receive higher bonuses when they play for the United States, but are paid only when they make the team, while the women receive guaranteed salaries supplemented by smaller match bonuses". It alleges gender-based discrimination by the US Soccer Federation (USSF).

The women have been fighting for equal pay since it came out that they were paid significantly less than the men's soccer team despite their prominence.

"The pay for advancement through the rounds of the World Cup was so skewed that, in 2014, the USSF provided the MNT with performance bonuses totaling $5,375,000 for losing in the Round of 16, while, in 2015, the USSF provided the WNT with only $1,725,000 for winning the entire tournament", the lawsuit reads.

Similarly, the WNBA and tennis players have also been making calls for equal pay, prize money, conditions and infrastructure.

The class-action lawsuit essentially boils down to the fact that the women's team is not paid the same as the men's team, despite putting up better results on the field. "Specifically, we are committed to the concept of a revenue-sharing model to address the US Soccer Federation's "market realities" and find a way towards fair compensation". In 2016, five top USWNT players - Lloyd, Morgan, Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Hope Solo - filed a federal complaint against the USSF for wage discrimination. However, in April 2017, it was announced that the US Women's National Team Players Association had struck a new labor deal with US Soccer, ratifying a new collective bargaining agreement through 2021.

The players say the issues described in the lawsuit stem from "institutionalized gender discrimination".

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