Success and Pay Not Correlated in U.S. Soccer

The  U.S. Women’s National Team has made the latest move in an ongoing dispute over the  unfair treatment they receive from the United States Soccer Federation. The five most renowned players have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under which  they accuse the United States Soccer Federation of gender discrimination. Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Alex Morgan and their lawyer Jeffrey Kessler- who defended Tom Brady in the infamous “Deflategate”-  have stepped forward citing the wage gap between the men’s national team and women’s national team to be unfair considering the success the women’s team has had. Even though the five women are the ones who filed the complaint Sauerbrunn states, “the decision to file was wholeheartedly supported by the entire team.”

The United States Soccer Federation has argued that the reason behind the women’s pay is that they negotiated for a salary based system over the bonus system that the men negotiated to have. Even so, according to Kessler the team has “a very strong case of blatant gender discrimination.” The statistics support Kessler’s claim; the wage gap between the two teams is incredibly high. Each member on the women’s team will make about $1,350 if they win, and if they lose they get nothing. On the other hand, the men’s team could each make up to $17,625- depending on how high the opposing team is ranked. Even if they lose, the men’s team is still looking at making $5,000. So, even after losing a game the men’s team still makes $3,650 more than what the women’s team makes for winning. Since each team is required to play at least 20 friendly matches it’s very obvious that in the end the wages won’t even come close to each other. Imagining that the women’s team wins all 20 games they would make $27,000 each, and if the men do the same they could make up to $352,500. If the men’s team lost all 20 games they would still be making $100,000, which is still $73,000 more than what the women’s team would make for winning all 20 games.

The United States Soccer Federation also argues that the five team members and their lawyer have picked the most successful year for women’s soccer and it is resulting in misleading conclusions. Yet, the Women’s National team has brought in a revenue of $17.7 million, much more than what the Federation had anticipated. The Women’s World Cup Final was also the most watched soccer game in United States television history with  25.4 million views. With three Women’s FIFA World Cups, four olympic gold medals, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup seven times, and one Algarve Cup- one of the most prestigious women’s tournaments-, Carli Lloyd rightfully states “I think that we’ve proven our worth over the years.” Dates for any action that will occur with the complaint are still being negotiated.