US Soccer’s Pay Math Blasted by Women’s Team

United States’ Tobin Heath, second from right, is congratulated on her goal by Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan (from left to right) during the first half of a SheBelieves Cup soccer match against Brazil in Tampa, Fla., on March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Current members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team could have earned millions of dollars in compensation over the last five years if they’d been paid under the structure for the men’s national team, according to court papers they filed Monday.

The 28-member squad, winners of this year’s Women’s World Cup tournament in France, sued their national governing body in March claiming decades of gender discrimination, including unequal pay, despite achieving “unmatched success” on the international stage.

The players – including team stars Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe – claim U.S. Soccer Federation officials have only paid lip service to stated goals of gender equity.

Responding to the players’ request to certify their equal pay claims as a class action, the U.S. Soccer Federation said doing so would expand the lawsuit to include all players called into national team duty.

Additionally, the Chicago-based federation argues that four players – Morgan, Rapinoe, Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn – lack standing to represent the class because they earned more than any male national team member between 2014 and 2019.

But attorneys for the women’s team said in the court filing Monday that the four women could have each earned at least $2.5 million under the compensation policy for the men’s national team. Women’s national team members have only earned more because of the number of games they played and due to their success on the field, the court filing said.

“This is not equal pay under either Title VII or the Equal Pay Act, both of which require equal pay for equal work,” the court filing said. “The correct injury analysis is whether the plaintiff would have earned more compensation under the pay rate policy of the [men’s national team] than they actually received under the pay rate policy of the [women’s national team].”

The federation has said that both national teams operate under separate and distinct collective bargaining agreements and that women’s contracts can be supplemented by their salaries in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The women’s national team has won three World Cup tournaments, including in 2015, four Olympic gold medals and is currently ranked number 1 in the world by soccer’s international governing body.

Meanwhile, the men’s national team failed to even qualify for the 2018 World Cup tournament in Russia and have never won the international competition.

Trial is scheduled to begin May 5, 2020 in federal court in Los Angeles.

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