United States Soccer Federation ‘surprised’ by US women’s national team lawsuit

Mar 5, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; United States forward Tobin Heath (17) and forward Alex Morgan (13) and forward Mallory Pugh (11) celebrate after a goal during the first half against Brazil during a She Believes Cup women's soccer match at Raymond James Stadium. Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) is “surprised” by a complaint filed by the women’s national team in a row over equal pay and working conditions.

All 28 squad members filed a discrimination lawsuit, urging the promotion of gender equality.

President Carlos Cordeiro met a number of players to discuss concerns.

“US Soccer believes that all female athletes deserve fair and equitable pay,” a USSF statement said.

“We strive to meet this core value at all times,” the statement added. “US Soccer has been and continues to be a champion for women’s soccer in the United States and on the global stage.”

Cordeiro held an “open, cordial and professional” discussion with some players on Wednesday to understand their concerns, adding they will “continue to work together to resolve this matter”.

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The governing body also gave examples of where US Soccer has pledged to help the women’s national team, citing a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement which was agreed between the two parties in April 2017.

The agreement included a contract structure requested specifically by the players to give them a guaranteed salary and benefits.

Cordeiro added how US Soccer has “provided the very best resources to the team and its staff, and advance the women’s game on the field and in the marketplace”, reinforcing their “commitment and passion” in its support both now and in the long-term future.

“We were therefore surprised by the complaint filed last week by the US Women’s National Team,” the statement said.

“As we continue to review the lawsuit, we thought it was imperative to reach out to team leaders to better understand their thoughts and concerns.

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“While we believe the current agreement is fair and equitable, we are committed to working with our USWNT players and understanding specifically where they believe improvement is needed.”

Cordeiro also revealed his intention to hold further meetings with the players, and added US Soccer has “every confidence that our USWNT players will be relentless in their pursuit of winning the Women’s World Cup this summer in France.”

The US have won the Women’s World Cup three times – at the inaugural 1991 tournament in China, the 1999 event hosted by the US and then in Canada four years ago.

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