The U.S. Soccer Federation says the women’s national team players leading a class-action lawsuit for equal pay have no basis to sue because they each earn more than the highest-paid men’s player.
In a case seeking monetary damages, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn aren’t well-suited to represent the teammates they’re advocating for because the four stars have out-earned the best-paid male player each year since 2017, U.S. Soccer said in a court filing Monday. This year, income for the four women ranged from $377,046 to $382,395 from January through September — more than four times the $91,396 collected by the unidentified male player who earned the most from 2014 through 2019, according to a chart included with the filing.
“The class representatives each received more compensation than any single MNT player and were not injured by U.S. Soccer’s allegedly discriminatory pay practices,” the federation said in the filing.
In their March lawsuit, the women’s team accused U.S. Soccer of continually shortchanging them despite their greater on-field success compared to the higher-paid men’s players. Job conditions, including the types of surfaces the teams play on, their travel arrangements and how U.S. Soccer promotes women’s games compared to men’s, are also unequal, according to the complaint.
“Pay should be based on performance, not gender,” Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the players in the suit, said in emailed statement. “USSF tries to spin the undeniable fact that if men players won their games, they would be paid considerably more than the women are now. This is a tired argument from USSF that women players must work twice as hard and win every time men lose in order to try to be paid and have the same working conditions as the men. It runs counter to every American principle of equality, won’t stop this case from going forward as a class action, and doesn’t stand a chance in a trial.”
The four representatives represent 28 women on the current team and said in a filing last month seeking class-action status that the group could top 50 “when accounting for absent current and former players.”