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

Kelly Cheng, Sara Hughes, beach volleyball’s new sensation, win World Tour Finals

Kelly Cheng, Sara Hughes
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In just a few months since reuniting, Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes have become not just the best women’s beach volleyball team in the U.S., but also, arguably, the world.

Cheng and Hughes, former partners who got back together for a 2024 Olympic run, won the World Tour Finals for the biggest title for a U.S. pair since April Ross and Alix Klineman took gold in Tokyo.

The 27-year-old Californians swept reigning world champions Duda and Ana Patricia of Brazil 21-18, 21-16 in Sunday’s final in Doha.

Cheng and Hughes have entered four tournaments since reuniting last fall and won all of them — once on the domestic AVP tour and now three international events.

They are rolling into the start of the 2024 Olympic qualifying window next week. It’s likely that the top two U.S. women’s pairs across international events over the course of the next 18 months qualify for the Paris Games.

Cheng and Hughes were previously NCAA champion teammates at USC, then the most promising, young U.S. pro team before splitting in 2018. Cheng made the Tokyo Olympics with Sarah Sponcil (lost in the round of 16), while Hughes’ Tokyo bid flamed out when partner Summer Ross suffered a back injury in 2019.

“It was a lot of the unknown and being young and kind of immature and listening to maybe outside forces and not really knowing how to deal with things as well,” Hughes said in October of their past breakup. “We’ve pretty much moved past that in our relationship. Moving forward with one another, we’re completely different players, and we’re a lot more mature. It feels like the right time. The past is past. We’re just moving forward.”

Cheng and Hughes have taken over from April Ross and Klineman as the top U.S. team. After winning Olympic gold, Klineman underwent shoulder surgery in January 2022 and last week announced she is pregnant and may return from childbirth for a “last-second” 2024 Olympic qualifying bid.

April Ross, a 40-year-old with an Olympic medal of every color, last competed in March, then withdrew before June’s world championships, where she was entered with Emily Day, with an unspecified injury. She has not announced if or when she plans to return to competition.

The U.S. earned at least one beach volleyball medal at every Olympics that the sport has been on the program (since 1996), and a men’s or women’s gold at all but one Olympics. Eighteen months out from the Paris Games, Cheng and Hughes are the best hope to keep the podium streak going.

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Germany opens bobsled worlds with double gold; Kaillie Humphries gets silver

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Germans Laura Nolte and Johannes Lochner dethroned the reigning Olympic and world champions to open the world bobsled championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, this weekend.

Nolte, the Olympic two-woman champion driver, won the four-run monobob by four tenths of a second over American Kaillie Humphries, who won the first world title in the event in 2021 and the first Olympic title in the event in 2022. Another German, Lisa Buckwitz, took bronze.

In the two-man, Lochner became the first driver to beat countryman Francesco Friedrich in an Olympic or world championships event since 2016, ending Friedrich’s record 12-event streak at global championships between two-man and four-man.

Friedrich, defeated by 49 hundredths, saw his streak of seven consecutive world two-man titles also snapped.

Lochner, 32, won his first outright global title after seven Olympic or world silvers, plus a shared four-man gold with Friedrich in 2017.

Swiss Michael Vogt drove to bronze, one hundredth behind Friedrich. Geoff Gadbois and Martin Christofferson filled the top American sled in 18th.

Americans Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton were the last non-Germans to win a world two-man title in 2012.

Bobsled worlds finish next weekend with the two-woman and four-man events.

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