A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Women’s National soccer team says that U.S. Soccer has wrongly paid them less than the U.S. Men’s team. But the proceedings in the suit already show that men’s soccer has much stiffer competition and have lost less money than the women’s team.
In the most recent phase of the proceedings, several members of women’s soccer were pressed to speak to the differences between men’s and women’s soccer. In one instance, a lawyer for the national organization asked if the U.S. women’s team could best Germany’s men’s team, the AP reported.
“I’m not sure,” U.S. Women’s player Carli Lloyd said in response to the questions.
U.S. Soccer Federation lawyer Noah Finkel pointed out that Lloyd herself admitted that male players are physically better than female players in many ways.
“You wrote men are faster and stronger, right?” Finkel said during the Dec. 20 deposition as he alluded to an email Lloyd wrote.
Lloyd responded, saying, “Yeah, if you take those away, yeah, it would be a contest.”
But U.S. soccer points out that “those” attributes are precisely what separates men’s and women’s soccer, creating the various differences in the pay structure.
The U.S. women’s team players filed the suit last year alleging that the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by paying the women less than the men. They are demanding more than $66 million in damages.
But the federation notes that the women also get several benefits the men do not, “including guaranteed salaries, health insurance, paid child-care assistance, pregnancy and parental leave, severance pay, and access to a 401(k) retirement plan. Men get paid by the game and tournament, most earning the majority of their income from their club,” the AP reported.
The federation has talked of this disparity several times since the women’s players floated the threat of the lawsuit. Last year, the federation noted in an open letter that the women actually make more than the men when all the benefits are factored in.
USSF even pointed out that women’s star Megan Rapinoe even once said, “Our pay structure is different. We play different games. We’re different rankings in the world. Like, it’s just apples to oranges.”
The federation also noted that the U.S. Women’s team has lost much more money than the men. The USSF reported that through fiscal year 2009, the men’s team lost $3.13 million. But the women’s had lost a whopping $27.6 million.
“The international soccer environment in which the MNT players compete is far more competitive by many measures than that in which plaintiffs compete,” the USSF said in its filing. “The MNT players have lower odds of succeeding in the face of such greater competition. In short, MNT players must achieve more and/or better results against tougher competition in order to qualify for and succeed in tournament competition.”
Perhaps to highlight this claim, the U.S. Women’s team has already shown the truth to the USSF’s statement that males play at a much higher level than females. In 2017, the U.S. Women’s National team played an exhibition game with FC Dallas, against the club’s under-15 boys team. The famed women’s team, winner of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, was soundly defeated in a 5-2 final.
The trial is set to begin on May 5.
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