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The US women’s soccer team won the World Cup. Now its players are taking on the gender pay gap.

Five highly decorated US women's national soccer team players, including Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo, have filed a federal wage discrimination complaint.
Five highly decorated US women's national soccer team players, including Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo, have filed a federal wage discrimination complaint.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The United States women's national soccer team wants to make clear it is an important force in American soccer, and that it should be paid as such.

Five players from the highly decorated US women's team (they are the reigning Women's World Cup and Olympic champions) filed a federal complaint of wage discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Thursday, the New York Times reported.

"We have been quite patient over the years with the belief that the federation would do the right thing and compensate us fairly," the US women's team co-captain Carli Lloyd said in a statement released to the Times.

The players — Lloyd, captain Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Megan Rapinoe, and goalkeeper Hope Solo — are trying to show they are an influencing economic factor, their lawyer Jeffrey Kessler told the Times.

American soccer's governing body, US Soccer, recently released budget figures showing a $20 million increase in revenue — which has been attributed to the women's team's World Cup win and victory tour.

However, US women soccer players can earn as low as 40 percent of what men on the national team rake in, according to the budget figure.

ESPN broke down the differences in pay:

Among the numbers cited in the EEOC filing are that the women would earn $99,000 each if they won 20 friendlies, the minimum number they are required to play in a year. But the men would likely earn $263,320 each for the same feat, and would get $100,000 even if they lost all 20 games. Additionally, the women get paid nothing for playing more than 20 games, while the men get between $5,000 and $17,625 for each game played beyond 20.

"Recently, it has become clear that the federation has no intention of providing us equal pay for equal work," Rapinoe said in a press release announcing the filing.

Go deeper:

  • How women's tennis also recently fell into another equal pay debate.
  • The highly decorated US women’s soccer team is treated worse than the mediocre US men’s team. Vox's Emily Crockett shows how.