On Wednesday, five members of the U.S. women's national soccer team filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The five players — Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Rebecca Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan — allege that there is gender pay discrimination in the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF).
"We believe now the time is right because we believe it's a responsibility for women's sports, specifically women's soccer, to really do whatever it takes for equal pay and equal rights, and to be treated with respect," Solo said on Today.
The wages for U.S. national soccer players do suggest a major gender imbalance. For each national game, women soccer players earn $3,600 to $4,950. Their male counterparts earn $6,250 to $17,625 per national game. There is also a roster bonus for making the World Cup. For women, the bonus is $30,000. For men, it is $68,750.
According to the USSF's 2015 financial report, the women's team earned $20 million more in revenue than the men's team.
In addition to the financial success, the U.S. women's team also does one thing that the U.S. men's team does not: win. The women's team has won three World Cups and four Olympic Gold Medals. The men's team's greatest accomplishment in decades is a single quarterfinal appearance in the World Cup.
"It has become clear that the Federation has no intention of providing us equal pay for equal work," Rapinoe said in a news release.
"While we have not seen this complaint and can't comment on the specifics of it, we are disappointed about this action," the USSF said in a statement.
The women's team players have previously complained about unfair pay and work conditions, and then even refused to play in a match in Hawaii last year after the players felt that the artificial turf was unsafe.
Morgan told Today that her husband, U.S. men's team member Servando Carrasco, supports their efforts to demand equal pay for equal work. U.S. men's team member Tim Howard publicly announced his support of the USMNT's efforts to fight for equal pay.
There is currently no plan for the women's team members to boycott any games until the pay matter is resolved, which could occur after the 2016 Olympics. If the EEOC rules on the side of the players, the entire team could be entitled back pay from a negotiated settlement.Cover image via Scott Halleran / Getty Images