Five members of the World Cup and Olympic champion U.S. women’s soccer team have filed a wage discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer officials, according to court documents.
The players say their team is the biggest force in the country for women’s soccer yet U.S. Soccer pays players far less than those of the U.S. men’s team, according to the suit filed on Thursday with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The five players involved in the suit are some of the top female players in the nation and include team co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, along with Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Hope Solo.
Citing figures from the USSF’s 2015 financial report, the fivesome’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler, requested the team’s officials be investigated for its salary practices.
While the five players make an annual $72,000 salary they contend the incentives and bonuses male players receive top theirs by far and the disparity isn’t fair.
According to ESPN, the budget numbers reveal the “women would earn $99,000 each if they won 20 friendlies, the minimum number they are required to play in a year. But the men would likely earn $263,320 each for the same feat, and would get $100,000 even if they lost all 20 games. Additionally, the women get paid nothing for playing more than 20 games, while the men get between $5,000 and $17,625 for each game played beyond 20.”
The five players want that playing field leveled.
“Recently, it has become clear that the Federation has no intention of providing us equal pay for equal work,” player Megan Rapinoe said in a statement to the press.
“We have been quite patient over the years with the belief that the federation would do the right thing and compensate us fairly,” Carli Lloyd added.
For her part, team goalkeeper Hope Solo made a more direct statement about the payscale.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” she said. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the U.S.M.N.T. get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
The team’s financial statement also reveals a $20 million increase in the national team’s revenue and the players insist the hike in earnings is due to their winning record. They feel, though, that they have not benefited from their success.
Lawyer Kessler added that the suit aimed to end the “discriminatory and unfair treatment” the players have endured for years.
The New York Times notes that this is far from the only time players have clashed with the team over salaries and playing conditions. The suit is only the latest dispute between players and the team. The union representing the players have already been embroiled in a dispute with the team over their latest collective bargaining agreement.
Team officials released a statement in response saying they are “disappointed” by the quintet’s actions.
“We understand the Women’s National Team Players Association is filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against U.S. Soccer,” the organization’s statement read. “While we have not seen this complaint and can’t comment on the specifics of it, we are disappointed about this action. We have been a world leader in women’s soccer and are proud of the commitment we have made to building the women’s game in the United States over the past 30 years.”
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