USWNT stars accuse US Soccer of wage discrimination

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Five stars of the U.S. women’s national team has alleged that U.S. Soccer is guilty of wage discrimination and has filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

[ MORE: Howard supports USWNT’s fight

Lawyers for Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn argue that the USWNT is paid four times less than the U.S. national team despite generating millions of dollars in revenue for U.S. Soccer.

The five players are acting on behalf of the entire USWNT.

[ MORE: Eboue’s deal to be canceled ]

According to 2015 accounts released by U.S. Soccer the USWNT produced nearly $20 million in revenue and they want equal pay with the U.S. men’s national team who, according to the five USWNT players’ renowned sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, recorded a $2 million loss for the same period.

There is also a discrepancy over the current collective bargaining agreement in place between the USWNT and U.S. Soccer with the players claiming the agreement is no over but U.S. Soccer stating it lasts until the end of 2016. A court hearing on May 25 in Chicago, following a separation action filed by U.S. Soccer, will decide when the current CBA deal runs until.

[ MORE: What next for USMNT?

Kessler told SI.com that U.S. Soccer has made it clear equal pay with the men’s team is not going to happen, hence their reason for filing the complaint with the EOCC. Kessler also argued that the women’s national team “have outperformed the men both economically and on the playing field in every possible way the last two years.”

The TODAY show cited figures stating that the USWNT players could earn between $3,600-4,950 per game, while the USMNT players make $6,250-17,625 per game. Each USMNT player who makes the World Cup roster earns $68,750 compared to the USWNT players making $30,000, which is 44 percent less.

Speaking on TODAY on Thursday the five players said it was their “responsibility to push for equal pay” for the USWNT compared to the USMNT. World Cup hero Lloyd, who is also the reigning Women’s World Player of the Year, has led the call for equality from the star names.

“We’ve proven our worth over the years,” Lloyd said. “The pay disparity between men and women is just too large. We want to continue to fight. The generation of players before us fought, and now it’s our job to keep on fighting.”

Solo added that “not much has changed” during her 15 years with the USWNT and she believes now is the right time to fight for equal pay.

“We’ve continued to be told we should be grateful just to have an opportunity to play professional soccer,” Solo said. “It’s about equality. It’s about equal rights. It’s about equal pay.

You can see more reaction from the players in the video below. So, what’s next?

Per the report, U.S. Soccer is “disappointed” about the action from the USWNT stars and cited its strong commitment to building the women’s game over the past 30 years.

The USWNT could threaten to strike between now and the end of 2016 if they believe the current CBA deal is not in place.

With the U.S. women’s national team the favorites to win Gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, they could certainly gain some leverage from threatening to pull out of the summer games. The soccer tournament begins on Aug. 3 in Brazil.

The U.S. women’s national team next two games are friendlies against Colombia on Apr.  6 and Apr. 10.