The U.S. Soccer Federation has asked a court to consolidate a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by players on the women’s national team with an action filed earlier by former goalkeeper Hope Solo.
The federation filed the motion Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. A hearing was scheduled for April 29.
The 28 members of the current women’s player pool filed their lawsuit earlier this month. It accuses the U.S. Soccer Federation of “institutionalized gender discrimination” that includes unequal pay with their counterparts on the men’s national team.
Solo filed a similar lawsuit in August in the Northern District of California.
Solo no longer plays for the national team. Her contract was terminated when she was suspended from the team following the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, she continues to champion gender equity issues.
She told The Associated Press earlier this month that she had hoped her former teammates would join in her lawsuit.
“It was clear that U.S. Soccer was never going to acquiesce or negotiate to provide us equal pay or agree to treat us fairly,” she said. “The filing by the entire United Sates women’s national team demonstrated that they no longer fear the federation by forcefully and publicly acknowledging U.S. Soccer’s violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII.”
The lawsuit brought by current national team players is an escalation of a long-simmering dispute over pay and treatment. Five players, including Solo, filed a complaint in 2016 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that alleged wage discrimination by the federation. The lawsuit effectively ended that EEOC complaint.
U.S. Soccer maintains that the men’s and women’s teams have separate collective bargaining agreements and their pay is structured differently. That means there is no simple dollar-to-dollar salary comparison. Terms of the CBAs have not been made public.
Compensation for the women includes a guaranteed salary and salaries paid by the USSF for their time with clubs in the National Women’s Soccer League. The men get paid based on appearances, roster selection for friendlies and tournaments, and collective performance. The USSF has cited the contracts, as well as the revenue generated by the teams, as the reason for the differences in pay.