Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo said on Wednesday the women’s national team’s $24-million settlement with US Soccer over an equal pay lawsuit was not the huge win it was being trumpeted as but rather « heartbreaking and infuriating. »
Solo’s comments came a day after the team and governing body US Soccer announced a settlement that is contingent on a new collective bargaining agreement being ratified by players on the US women’s national team (USWNT).
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« Read the fine print. ‘Contingent upon the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement’, » Solo wrote in a social media post. « It doesn’t exist yet and is not guaranteed.
« If the players had ever been successful in negotiating an equal CBA, there would’ve been no reason to sue the federation in the first place. »
US Soccer also committed to providing an equal rate of pay for the women’s and men’s national teams in all friends and tournaments, including the World Cup.
But Solo, who helped the USWNT to win two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup during her career, said a promise of equal pay and « backpay for a select group of players » was not equal pay nor what the fight was about.
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« This settlement is not a ‘huge win.’ It’s heartbreaking and infuriating, » wrote Solo.
Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the USWNT players, did not immediately reply when asked by Reuters via email to comment on Solo’s remarks.
The USWNT sued US soccer’s governing body in 2019 seeking $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act over allegations of gender discrimination in compensation and nearly every other aspect of their playing conditions.
Prior to that, in 2016, Solo was among five top players from the USWNT who filed a federal wage discrimination complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), saying they were paid less than male players even though they generated more income for US Soccer .
The other players who filed the federal wage complaint with Solo in 2016 were Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe.
Solo said Rapinoe and Morgan, who were among the players who sued the federation, were the most agreeable with US Soccer throughout the process and continued to accept terms she described as nowhere near what they set out to do.
« They both know this is not a win. They know it’s an easy out of a fight they were never really in, » wrote Solo, who ran unsuccessfully for US Soccer president in 2018.
« The equal pay case against US Soccer I filed on behalf of the team long before the team sued, still stands and I remain committed to fighting for all players — past, present and future. »
Neither Rapinoe nor Morgan could be reached for comment.
The USWNT’s collective bargaining agreement expired on Dec. 31, but was extended until March 31.
US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, speaking to Reuters on Tuesday, said they had met the USWNT Players Association multiple times a week and that they were inviting the men’s team to the women’s negotiations and vice versa.