The US Women’s National Soccer Team Just Took A Big Stand For Equal Pay For Equal Work

Equal pay is making headlines again, but this time the focus is on Women’s Sports.

Five of the players from the very successful U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, have decided to boycott the upcoming Rio Olympic Games if their demand for equal pay is not met. This is the team who just won their third World Cup trophy in 2015 and have won back to back to back Gold medals most recently at the 2012 Olympic Games.

The players including Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn have filed a wage discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to be paid the same amount as their male counterparts.

In an interview with ESPNW, Sauerbrunn said about the boycott,

“It would still be on the table. We are reserving every right to do so. We’re leaving every avenue open. If nothing has changed, we don’t feel real progress has been made, then it’s a conversation we’re going to have.”

A female player on her club team can be paid anywhere from $3,600 to $4,950 per game if they win. A male soccer player can make between $6,250 and $17,625 whether they win, lose or draw. If an athlete makes the World Cup roster, women earn $30,000 per game, while if the men can earn $68,750 per game, roughly 44% less in pay. Now lets take into account the most recent World Cup. The U.S. Women’s National Team won it all, and as a bonus to winning it, Cali Lloyd received $75,000. In comparison to her male counterparts, the bonus they would have received if they won the world cup, would be $390,000. The last World Cup that the men played in where they lost in the round of 16, the team still earned an estimated $9 million in pay.

So why is this happening? Well for starters, FIFA has claimed that Women’s Soccer does not bring in as much revenue as Men’s. But according to U.S. Soccer numbers the women’s team made over $16 million dollars last year, while the mens team caused a $2 million dollar loss.

In terms of viewers, attendance has risen for women’s national soccer team games to a huge comparison to the men’s game levels in the past year. Not to mention that the women’s team has had much more success at tournament play than the mens. At the 2012 Olympic final game versus Japan, the game had a record turnout of 80,023 spectators at Wembley Stadium.

U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) came out with a statement in regards to this filing saying, “it was ‘disappointed’ that the action was taken.” Afterwards a second statement was issued saying that the USSF is “committed to and engaged in negotiating a new CBA that addresses compensation with the U.S. women’s national team when the current CBA expires at the end of this year.” This was then followed by another statement from the USSF President Sunil Gulati saying, “We think very highly of the women’s national team and we want to compensate them fairly, and we’ll sit down and work through that with them when all of this settles down.”

However, in an interview with the Today Show’s Matt Lauer, Hope Solo doesn’t believe this attempt will be made. She said,

“I’ve been on this team for a decade and a half, and I’ve been through numerous CBA negotiations, and honestly, not much has changed. We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, to get paid for doing it.

This is not the first time gender disparity has played a role within soccer organizations. During the last World Cup, the women played on artificial turf and if you remember correctly, they got pretty bloodied up because it’s not comfortable sliding on artificial turf.

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The results were so terrible that it got the attention of some pretty famous celebrities and athletes who voiced their opinions. Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 3.52.54 PM

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The men? Well FIFA took care of them by having grass seed exported to Brazil for their field. If you also noticed, there was more publicizing the 2018 Men’s World Cup in Russia rather than highlighting what was going on at the current Women’s World Cup.

So how do the men’s team feel about this? Tim Howard, the Men’s National Team goalie told ESPN on Sportscenter, “We support the fact that the women should fight for their rights and fight for what they think is just compensation. We, on the men’s side, have been fighting that battle for a long, long time.” While Landon Donovan posted on twitter,

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“The outcome, I hope, is equal pay for equal play. I think, compensation-wise and respect-wise, that’s what I’m really hoping comes out of this complaint. I hope that it puts enough pressure on the federation, to show them our worth and our value. Hopefully also, from there, other people put enough pressure on US Soccer if the complaint doesn’t fall in our favor. Hopefully that’s the ending point,” said Sauerbrunn to ESPN. 

Not having some of these women on the Olympic roster would be shattering not only to the team, but to little girls around the country who admire and look up to them for their determination and dedication to soccer. That and they are the favorites to win in Rio.

Featured image via video capture.

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