World Cup winners accuse U.S. Soccer of pay discrimination

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Five top female players accuse U.S. soccer of pay discrimination

Barely four months after the U.S. women's national soccer team was forced to cancel a friendly match against Trinidad and Tobago in Hawaii because of horrible and unfair field conditions, the World Cup winning squad has decided to take the clear gender disparity in their sport to task. It's long been lamented that women's sports are far lower paying than men's, and after this month's unnecessary weighing-in by men on whether female tennis stars deserve to get paid what men do, there's a clear wrong and right side of history to be on. And with a complaint officially filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. women's soccer team is taking steps to draw that line.

In a New York Times story and a Today show appearance, five key players from the U.S. women's national team — Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, and Carli Lloyd — announced that they had filed a complaint, asking the EEOC to investigate U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination in pay. A lawyer for the players, Jeffrey Kessler, said that after looking at budget figures released by U.S. Soccer last month, they calculated that the women's players made as little as 40 percent of what the U.S. men's national team made, and were being discriminated against in everything from bonuses to appearance fees to per diems.

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While the U.S. men's team in the last 25 years has only made it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2002, the U.S. women's national team has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals. The complaint filed points to this fact, saying that these wins have contributed to the growing national interest and revenue boost in the sport.

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US vs. Japan Final, Women's World Cup
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World Cup winners accuse U.S. Soccer of pay discrimination
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Alex Morgan #13, Lauren Holiday #12, Abby Wambach #20 and Whitney Engen #6 of the United States of America hold the World Cup Trophy after their 5-2 win over Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
The United States Women's National Team celebrates with the trophy after they beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
United States' Becky Sauerbrunn kisses the trophy as Lauren Holiday, left, and Kelley O'Hara, right, look on after the U.S. beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The United States Women's National Team celebrates with the trophy as confetti falls after they beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
United States' Carli Lloyd kneels on the pitch as Japan's Rumi Utsugi, left, walks off after the U.S. beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Abby Wambach #20 of the United States of America celebrates as time expires in their 5-2 win over Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
From left, United States' Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday, and Carli Lloyd celebrate after Lloyd scored her second goal of the match against Japan during the first half of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States with the ball against Homare Sawa #10 of Japan in the first half in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States scores her second goal in the first half against Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Japan's Saki Kumagai (L) and USA's Carli Lloyd vie for the ball during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final between the USA and Japan at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan's goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori fails to stop a goal during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
United States' Carli Lloyd, right, celebrates with goalkeeper Hope Solo (1) and Megan Rapinoe, top, after Lloyd scored her third goal against Japan during the first half of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States celebrates with teammates after scoring her second goal against Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
United States' Carli Lloyd, right, celebrates with teammates after Lloyd scored her third goal against Japan during the first half of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
United States fans with painted faces cheer in the stands before the start of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship between the U.S. and Japan in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A young fan waves a Japanese flag before the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship between the United States and Japan in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Risa Suzuki, left, of Japan, and Kerrry Haughton, of New York, smile after posing for photographers outside BC Place stadium before the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship between the United States and Japan later in the day, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
USA fans cheer before the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final between the USA and Japan at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US Vice President Joe Biden cheers on Team USA during the final football match between USA and Japan at BC Place Stadium during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ANDY CLARK (Photo credit should read ANDY CLARK/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan's midfielder Aya Miyama kicks the ball during the final football match between USA and Japan in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
USA players celebrate a goal during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final between the USA and Japan at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States scores her second goal in the first half against Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
USA midfielder Carli Lloyd (10) is congratuled by after scoring a goal during the final football match between USA and Japan during their 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori reacts after allowing in a fourth USA goal during the final football match between USA and Japan at BC Place Stadium during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ANDY CLARK (Photo credit should read ANDY CLARK/AFP/Getty Images)
United States' Tobin Heath, center, celebrates with Morgan Brian, left, after Heath scored a goal against Japan during the second half of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Japanese football supporters react following a goal by the US as they attend a public screening in Tokyo on July 6, 2015, of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final between Japan and USA being played in Vancouver, British Columbia. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori #18 of Japan is unable to save a shot by Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States as Lloyd scores in the first half in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
USA's Becky Sauerbrunn (R) and Japan's Asuna Tanaka head the ball during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final between the USA and Japan at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Goalkeeper Hope Solo #1 of the United States clears the ball in the first half against Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Japan's forward Yuki Ogimi (R) vies with USA defender Julie Johnston before scoring a goal during the final football match between USA and Japan during their 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Aya Miyama #8 and Mizuho Sakaguchi #6 of Japan celebrate a USA own goal in the second half in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori #18 of Japan is unable to save a shot by Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States as Lloyd scores her second goal in the first half in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Lauren Holiday #12 and Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States celebrate with teammates after Lloyd scores her second goal against Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
USA supporters cheer their team during the final football match between USA and Japan at BC Place Stadium during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ANDY CLARK (Photo credit should read ANDY CLARK/AFP/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Sasha Obama (L) watches the United States take on Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Japanese soccer fans watch a live broadcast of the Woman's World Cup soccer final match between Japan and the United States at a public viewing venue in Tokyo, Monday, July 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Fans watching on an outdoor screen from the National Harbor, Md., celebrate after the United States' scored their third goal against Japan during the first half of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Krista McMahan, of St. Louis, wears soccer ball contact lenses as she cheers before the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship final between the United States and Japan in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Fans react as they watch Carli Lloyd score for the USA during play against Japan in the Women's World Cup title match on television Sunday, July 5, 2015, in Marlton, N.J. Lloyd scored three goals in the first half as the United States has taken a 4-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of the Women's World Cup final. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Keegan Bilboa, 6, of Springfield, Missouri, sits atop shoulders outside BC Place stadium before the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship between the United States and Japan later in the day, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer brings out the World Cup Trophy before the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final between the United States and Japan at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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And while USWNT players are salaried employees, they contend that even considering that fact, they make far less than the men. The Times reports that the proof is in the bonus structure: "A men's player, for example, receives $5,000 for a loss in a friendly match but as much as $17,625 for a win against a top opponent. A women's player receives $1,350 for a similar match, but only if the United States wins; women's players get no bonuses for losses or ties."

In a statement released today, U.S. Soccer responded to the women's team's complaint by saying, "While we have not seen this complaint and can't comment on the specifics of it, we are disappointed about this action. 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." If the women's case is a success, and the EEOC rules in their favor, U.S. Soccer could be forced to pay out millions of dollars in back pay.

See photos from last year's parade
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Women's World Cup soccer parade
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World Cup winners accuse U.S. Soccer of pay discrimination
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: The World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team, including Abby Wambach (Top L), celebrates along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (C), as they make their way up the The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall.( Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrates the Champions U.S. Women's Soccer National Team at a City Hall ceremony following a New York City Ticker Tape Parade for World Cup Champions U.S. Women's Soccer National Team on July 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Thousands of fans cheer as the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team make their way up the The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
USA women's soccer team midfielder Megan Rapinoe (C) holds up the World Cup 2015 trophy as midfielder Carli Lloyd (L), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and head coach Jill Ellis (R) wave to the crowd during the ticker tape parade in New York on July 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Members of the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer cheer as they make their way up The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Abby Wambach takes a photo as she and her teammates from the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team parade along Broadway to City Hall, Friday July 10, 2015, in New York. The U.S. defeated Japan, 5-2, for the championship. (AP Photo/Bryan R, Smith)
U.S. women's soccer team members are joined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as their float makes its way up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parade to celebrate the team's World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R, Smith)
USA women's soccer team midfielder Carli Lloyd takes a selfie with the World Cup 2015 trophy during the ticker tape parade in New York on July 10, 2015, to celebrate the team's World Cup victory. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
USA women's soccer team midfielder Megan Rapinoe (C) holds the World Cup 2015 trophy on her head during the ticker tape parade in New York on July 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
USA women's soccer team fans cheer during the ticker tape parade in New York on July 10, 2015 celebrating the team World Cup victory. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Alexis Morgan, Mayor Bill De Blasio, Megan Rapinoe and Chirlane McCray during New York City Holds Ticker Tape Parade For World Cup Champions U.S. Women's Soccer National Team on July 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Members of the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team celebrate as they make their way up The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Members of the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team, including Whitney Engen (Right) are viewed as crowds cheer as they make their way up The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Members of the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team celebrate as they make their way up the The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: (L-R): Soccer player Carli Lloyd, Mayor Bill de Blasio, soccer player Megan Rapinoe, Chirlane McCray and U.S. Coach Jill Ellis aboard a float in the New York City Ticker Tape Parade for World Cup Champions U.S. Women's Soccer National Team on July 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: A general view of the atmosphere during the New York City Ticker Tape Parade for World Cup Champions U.S. Women's Soccer National Team on July 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Members of the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer cheer as they make their way up The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, at center on float, gestures during a ticker tape parade for the U.S. women's World Cup soccer team Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. The U.S. team defeated Japan to win the World Cup on Sunday. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Thousands of fans cheer as the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team make their way up the The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Thousands of fans cheer as the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team make their way up the The Canyon of Heroes along Broadway during a ticker-tape parade on July 10, 2015 in New York City. Following the parade the team celebrated at ceremony at City Hall. According to city records, New York City has hosted 205 parades since 1886 along the Canyon of Heroes, which is located along Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: (L-R): Mayor Bill de Blasio, soccer players Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, Chirlane McCray and U.S. Coach Jill Ellis aboard a float in the New York City Ticker Tape Parade for World Cup Champions U.S. Women's Soccer National Team on July 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
U.S. women's soccer team midfielder Megan Rapinoe, center, holds up the World Cup trophy as midfielder Carli Lloyd, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, and head coach Jill Ellis, right, wave to the crowd as their float makes it way up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has his arm around U.S. women's World Cup team forward Abby Wambach during a ticker tape parade honoring the World Cup champions in New York, Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
The U.S. women's World Cup team stands on floats during a ticker tape parade in New York, Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Soccer players Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe in the New York City Ticker Tape Parade for World Cup Champions U.S. Women's Soccer National Team on July 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
A young fan cheers while waiting for the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Soccer player Abby Wambach in the New York City Ticker Tape Parade for World Cup Champions U.S. Women's Soccer National Team on July 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Caigan Leonard, 9, of New Windsor, N.Y., wears a number 13 soccer jersey like team USA player Alex Morgan while waiting for the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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