If you think winning three World Cups and four Olympics means you'd get paid as much as your male colleagues who haven't achieved anything close to that level of success, you'd be wrong.
Five top players from the US women's soccer team announced today that they had filed a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Alleging wage discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation, the women maintain they were paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts.
“The US women for so long have been told, and this goes back to the days when I was playing on the team.. that you don’t bring in money, you don’t bring in revenue and now of course with the popularity of the team, that equation has changed,” Said Julie Foudy, women's soccer analyst at espnW and former captain of the US Women's National Soccer Team.
Under the current USSF contract, if the women’s team wins the World Cup, each player can receive up to $75,000 per year in bonuses. For the men, each team player would earn $400,000 in bonuses.
The women’s national team is the defending Olympic champion and their match against Japan in last summer's World Cup finals was the most-watched soccer game of all time in the United States. The men’s team, on the other hand, hasn't made it past the World Cup quarterfinals since 1930.
This latest move comes in the midst of another ongoing lawsuit filed by the USSF against the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Players Association, the union representing the players. USSF wants to clarify that the players’ current contract holds until December 31, 2016, while the union argues that the contract can be terminated at any time.
The U.S. Soccer Federation issued a statement following the federal complaint saying it is "disappointed" with the action.
In fairness to the USSF, Foudy said that, compared to the rest of the world, US Soccer is light years ahead in how they support the women’s team. She said the USSF is willing to negotiate with the union, but they want the players to keep to a clause in the current contract that says they won't go on strike.
Nevertheless, Foudy applauds the women filing the complaint because, now that "the government will be opening the books," a lot of questions will be answered about how much money is coming in, where the revenue is going and the different salaries men and women earn.
“There comes a point where you say enough is enough and we want to set an example not just with US soccer of course, but with other sports because you have a lot of women’s teams in the Olympic movement that are barely surviving on the salaries they get paid.” Said Foudy.
Julie Foudy, former captain of the U-S Women's National Soccer Team and espnW's women’s soccer analyst.