Top Stories

U.S. Soccer looks for dismissal in USWNT equal-pay case

Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

U.S. Soccer is fighting back against claims from the U.S. Women’s National Team, after the group cited receiving significantly lower pay between their team and the USMNT.

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. Soccer has filed its defense against the USWNT’s claims of equal pay disparity and stated that the group is among the most highly compensated female teams in the world. The federation has also asked that the charge be dropped.

The 20-page statement issued by the federation also cited FIFA as the source of responsibility for the women’s claims.

“Any differences in the compensation paid MNT and WNT players are driven by factors other than gender,” Kathryn H. Ruemmler, an attorney with Latham & Watkins, wrote in the response. “Because the record powerfully rebuts the Charge’s claim that the United States Women’s National Team’s compensation is the product of discriminatory animus, the Charge should be dismissed.”

U.S. Soccer’s biggest defense is that the men’s game generates more money than the women’s, allowing the USMNT to be compensated more. The men generated $144 in game revenue from 2008-15, while the women brought in $53 million.

Additionally, the men’s game has seen significantly greater attendance figures. From 2011-15, the USMNT has averaged over 33,000 supporters, over double of the women’s team.

At the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the USMNT reportedly received $9 million for advancing past the group stage, while the U.S. Women were given just $2 million for winning the 2015 World Cup.

USWNT players Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn and Megan Rapinoe lodged the team’s initial complaint over equal pay rights.



  1. Oh, look: almost zero sympathy from a bunch of male soccer fans about female soccer players asking for pay equality and other forms of equal treatment. On a site where half the posters feel free to make dismissive remarks about the women’s game on a regular basis, and where some are still not disinclined to throw in sexist remarks in the bargain from time to time.

    I’m shocked — shocked, I tell ya.

    • That would be fine and all if the USWNT actually had a leg to stand on here. It seemed obvious before but now even more so. Personally, I’m enjoying this blowing up in their face.

      • I’m actually thinking it’s USSoccer which has the weak leg. “We pay you much better than the rest of the world” doesn’t mean anything.

        USSoccer has a chance to stand up and show the world how to do the right thing and they are screwing it up.

    • Pointing out the prevalent bias against women’s soccer here does not constitute being a “white knight”. And the argument is the one they’re presenting, with no small amount of documentation in support. They can do and have done much better at that than I can, with everything at their disposal. The idea that their case is laughable is itself laughable. Yet that’s he prevalent view here, and I noted how not surprising that is, given the nature of the commentors here.

  2. As much as I am a fan of The USWNT, and wish them well in all pursuits, this is a matter which
    should be taken up during collective bargaining when it is time for a new contract. Then if there
    is an impasse during negotiations, the matter can be submitted to binding arbitration. IMHO, as long as the NWSL continues to operate like a D-League, they will continue to draw like the NBA
    D-League. I wasn’t even aware that the NWSL had stated play until I researched it on line. At
    least here in Las Vegas, none of the matches have been televised yet. At least in the NBA
    D-League, many of the games are televised on NBATV Cable. I know that the NWSL had to have parity to start with, but now they need to grow out of that to where they are playing women’s
    Club Teams from Europe in “friendlies” during the off-season. That will draw the crowds, and
    then maybe salary parity can become a reality.

    • What European Women’s club would really be a big draw for a friendly? Seattle Reign just played Arsenal ladies in front of about 4,000 people.To get on TV you need a TV network that wants to show your matches.You could watch that match on youtube. They operate like a “D league” because the money just isn’t there and investors are still hesitant because of the failures of the past.

      I wish there were an easy solution but this could just take decades to build brands and have people buy into supporting the league..

  3. It’s really tough to pass any judgement without access to the financials for both teams. I would say though, that I think FIFA payouts should be equal. I don’t care how much money the mens WC makes vs womens. The point of FIFA is growing and supporting the game worldwide. It should be an even balance sheet IMO. Make payouts for tournaments the same regardless of gender.

    When it comes to domestic leagues though, that is very much based on profit and should be. Or else the league goes out of business AGAIN. Isn’t this the third women’s league? It also gets murky because the women’s league is paid by US Soccer isn’t it? It’s not a technically seperate entity like MLS I don’t believe. I could be wrong about that. But if US Soccer is paying the WNT and the domestic league, then you have to divide those two out as well and compare MLS players vs women’s league domestic and MNT vs WNT to get any idea of what numbers we’re talking about. I’d bet the domestic league is not turning a profit but the national team is in the case of the women’s game.

    • We need some investigative reporting and “leaks” to dig up some finances for the two. Hopefully it goes to court and all this stuff has to come out in the case.

      • Correct. This is an ugly little fact the whining women and their lawyers do not want to mention. I sure would like the USSF to pay my team’s payroll (SKC).

  4. So you mean when you don’t just cherry pick finances over the short period of time related to the women’s world cup and ignore things like historical revenues, guarantied salaries and subsidizing the women’s league that the men don’t receive, there is a rational basis for the pay? whudda thunk. Almost certainly if the popularity in the women’s game, ticket prices and tv revenues and thus gross revenues stay high, their pay should and will increase vs. the men. Their last agreement was based on the finances at the time. It is even possible that in the future, and based upon rational examination of the data it would and should be warranted that they receive MORE than the men, or does that make me a misandrist?

  5. They should hire the lawyers that have represented the USWNT members arrested for domestic violence and drunk driving. I hear they have a great regardless of dismissals.

  6. Correct Scott. Maybe also the USSF should subsidize MLS like it does for the women’s joke of a league. Better not bite the hand that feeds you ladies. Even Julie Foudy agrees

    • What do you mean even Julie Foudy agrees? She has always been a solid reliable voice on soccer issues, unlike the current millennial USWNT stars who feel entitled to what the men get yet don’t seem to care that most of their female counterparts make not even a pittance to what they bring in. Where’s equal pay there ladies. I’m pretty sure there is even something in the contract where no one in them women’s soccer leauge can make more than the top USWNT players. Talk about collusion and discriminatory. The men get paid for losses because otherwise they don’t get paid to show up and get shellacked by Brazil, versus the women don’t get paid for a loss because US Soccer pays them a salary whether the win or lose. If they win then they get paid extra. Apples to oranges this whole equal pay

  7. US Soccer is not taking this lightly. Their attorney, Kathy Ruemmler, is former White House Counsel to President Obama.


Leave a Comment