U.S. women’s soccer stars discuss wage-discrimination complaint

U.S. women's soccer
TODAY
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Five star U.S. women’s soccer players are filing a wage-discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seeking equal pay with their male counterparts.

U.S. Olympic champions Carli LloydHope SoloAlex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn appeared on TODAY to discuss the move Thursday morning (video here). Megan Rapinoe was also involved in the complaint.

U.S. women are paid between $3,600 and $4,950 per game, while men receive $6,250 to $17,625. Women receive 44 percent of what their male counterparts earn for making the World Cup team, according to TODAY, citing the complaint.

“We’ve proven our worth over the years,” said Lloyd, whose hat trick propelled the U.S. to victory in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final. “The pay disparity between men and women is just too large. We want to continue to fight. The generation of players before us fought, and now it’s our job to keep on fighting.”

Solo said “not much has changed” with regards to equal-pay issues in the decade-plus she’s been on the national team.

“We’ve continued to be told we should be grateful just to have an opportunity to play professional soccer,” Solo said. “It’s about equality. It’s about equal rights. It’s about equal pay.”

Their attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, said that players were told “it was irrational” when they asked for the same treatment as men’s players.

Morgan was asked by Matt Lauer if players would boycott games or strike.

“I think that’s why we’re here taking this action and filing this complaint,” Morgan responded ahead of the Rio Olympics, which begin Aug. 3 for women’s soccer. “Every single day we sacrifice just as much as the men. We work just as much. We endure just as much physically and emotionally. Our fans really do appreciate us every day for that. We saw that with the high last summer. We’re asking and demanding now that our federation, our employer really, step up and appreciate us as well.”

On TODAY, the players laughed when asked if they had heard from male players.

“I’m sure they are in support of us,” said Morgan, whose husband, Servando Carrasco, plays in MLS.

Kessler said that in 2015 the U.S. women’s national team made over $16 million for U.S. Soccer, while the men’s team caused a $2 million loss. Last year was a World Cup year for the women, but not for the men.

“We are disappointed about this action,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement. “We have been a world leader in women’s soccer and are proud of the commitment we have made to building the women’s game in the United States over the past 30 years.”

MORE: Carli Lloyd ranks Olympic final-winning goals, World Cup hat trick