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Top women's soccer players sue US Soccer for gender discrimination

08 March 2019

Players for the USA women's national soccer team have filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit seeking pay that is equitable to that of their male counterparts.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Los Angeles on International Women's Day, came three years after several players filed a similar complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The US women's team has enjoyed unparalleled success in worldwide soccer, including three World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals and numerous other global competitions.

The U.S. women's team has enjoyed unparalleled success in worldwide soccer, including three World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals and numerous other triumphs in global competitions.

The players' action is the latest flashpoint in a yearslong fight for pay equity and equal treatment by the national team, which has long chafed about its compensation, support and working conditions while representing U.S. Soccer. "This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players - with the female players, in contrast to male players, becoming world champions".

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, which will be held in France, starts in June, and the USA is one of the favorites to hoist the trophy.

The players allege that they have been subject to ongoing 'institutionalized gender discrimination, ' including unequal pay, despite having the same job responsibilities as players on the men's national team.

Similarly, the WNBA and tennis players have also been making calls for equal pay, prize money, conditions and infrastructure.

In 2017, the U.S. women's national hockey team threatened to boycott that year's world championship but returned to the ice after settling a dispute with USA Hockey over wages and better benefits in line with their male counterparts.

"Each of us is extremely proud to wear the United States jersey, and we also take seriously the responsibility that comes with that", U.S. forward Alex Morgan said in a statement. On the other hand, men earned $55,000 for making the team in 2014 and $68,750 in 2018.

This is not the first time the players have sought equitable compensation and conditions.

The class-action lawsuit will allow any players from the team since February 2015 to join the suit. In 2016, five top USWNT players - Lloyd, Morgan, Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Hope Solo - filed a federal complaint against the USSF for wage discrimination. "As players, we deserved to be paid equally for our work, regardless of our gender", forward Alex Morgan said in a prepared statement. The new lawsuit effectively ends the EEOC complaint, according to the AP.

The agreement included direct and bonus pay increases and per diems equal to the men's team, according to ESPNW, as well as improved travel and financial support for pregnant or adopting players. U.S. Soccer then canceled a match in Honolulu as its turf was "not suitable".

"This lawsuit is an effort by the plaintiffs to address those serious issues through the exercise of their individual rights", the union said in a statement.

Top women's soccer players sue US Soccer for gender discrimination