U.S. Men’s Soccer Union Calls Women’s Pay Gap “Systematic Gender Discrimination”

The men’s union voiced support for the U.S. women’s soccer team, ahead of some women players’ gender discrimination trial against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF).

In a rare display of solidarity for any industry, the union representing the U.S. men’s soccer team published a 1,900-word statement on Wednesday advocating for equal pay for the women’s national soccer team. Some members of the women's team have been embroiled in a public fight with the U.S. Soccer Federation over the team’s significant pay gap compared to their male counterparts since last year.

The men’s union voiced support for the U.S. women’s soccer team, ahead of some women players’ gender discrimination trial against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF), which is set to begin in May. The men’s union urged the Federation to pay women players “significantly more” than the men’s recent deal, and accused the USSF of selling a “false narrative” about the equal pay dispute.

Twenty-eight players on the U.S. women’s soccer team, including World Cup stars Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Carly Lloyd, filed a class-action lawsuit against the USSF in March 2019 under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The team is alleging the governing body USSF has discriminated against players based on gender. 

According to U.S. Soccer financial statements from 2016 and 2018, women’s soccer games generated nearly $1 million more than men’s, and U.S. women won significantly more titles. 

“The Federation has been working very hard to sell a false narrative to the public and even to members of Congress. They have been using this false narrative as a weapon against current and former members of the United States Women’s National Team,” the men’s union stated.
The men’s union added: “This is systematic gender discrimination that should have never happened.”
The  USSF issued a response to the men’s union’s statement late Wednesday, according to ESPN

"We have read the statement released today by the union representing the players of the USMNT,” the statement read. “Our goal is to determine fair and equitable compensation for our USMNT and USWNT, while also being mindful of how and where we invest our overall financial resources so that we can continue to focus on investing in the development of our players, coaches and referees at all levels."

Women athletes around the world have been pushing for better conditions and pay over the last few years. In Spain, more than 200 women on 16 professional soccer teams went on strike late last year to demand fairer wages. Earlier in 2019, Australia’s national women’s team won its battle for equal pay and benefits — the team known as the “Matildas” ranked 8th in the world, while the men’s team ranked 44th.