Short and Sweet: Red, White and Blue Soccer

Everyone knows that the pay gap between men and women exists in the workplace. But has anyone considered the workplace to be a soccer field?

On Thursday, five members of the United States Women’s Nation Soccer Team filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that their wages have been unfair, citing discrimination based on sex. The members of the USWNT filing the complaint are Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan, Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan.

The USWNT were World Cup champions in 2015, while the U.S. men’s team unfortunately lost early on in their World Cup tournament.

Comparing specific players’ salaries, Lloyd and Solo made approximately $240,019 from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015. Their salaries will be compared to two U.S. men’s team players, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard, a leading scorer and a veteran goalie. Dempsey collected $428,022 and Howard slightly lower at $398,495 in the same time span.

ESPN’s released their statistical analysis of the story, and came up with the salary differences. Dempsey made nearly $200,000 more than Lloyd and Howard $160,000 more compared Solo. When asked to make a comment, U.S. Soccer declined.

This is not the first time the USWNT has been on the lower hand. In December, they boycotted a friendly match and cited concerns of the artificial turf at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium. They cited safety for their boycott, as underneath artificial turf there is often concrete, making it dangerous. In comparison, the U.S. men’s team only plays matches on real-grass fields.

Additional differences include: unequal travel compensation (women fly coach while men fly business class), unequal reward for making the 23-player World Cup roster, and unequal pay for winning friendly games throughout the season.

Courts will decide whether the USWNT’s complaints have merit by the end of May. This case has large implications, and could possibly be compared to NBA and WNBA conditions, although their specific pays are unknown.

The pay gap is real, and the USWNT is trying to claim their fair piece of the pie.

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