USWNT hits back at US Soccer President Cordeiro

While the US Women’s National Team isn’t the typical remit of your favorite resource for North Texas soccer over the past two decades, it is when it happens in the Metroplex, and the USWNT seems to hit the headlines surrounding visits to Frisco fairly often.

Chants of ‘equal pay’ filled Toyota Stadium on Wednesday night as Carli Lloyd held the SheBelieves Cup aloft in front of the American Outlaws in the Beer Garden. While Lloyd and co aren’t going to make the $9.5m that Christian Pulisic is paid by Chelsea this year, their pay to represent the stars and stripes is an issue for players and fans alike.

The two teams have a vastly different structure with the women paid an annual $100,000 salary with lower bonuses. The Washington Post put out a scenario where if both teams lost 20 consecutive games, they’d earn the same due to the $5,000 bonus the USMNT receives for a loss. Winning 20 straight, which is more likely for the women, would result in the men making $28,333 more.

The men actually make $3,000 more for losing a World Cup Qualifier than the women do for winning. It’s no surprise that the women’s team is seeking equal pay from US Soccer for when they play for the national team, with that taking place in the courts.

On the day of the US’ second SheBelieves Cup game, a US Soccer filing by Brian Stolzenbach cited that the team has fewer responsibilities and requires less skill than the men’s team and did not deserve to be paid equally. A short turnaround from the day before when US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro claimed that the USWNT were offered equal pay in US Soccer controlled games.

The USWNT Players’ Association, who oversees the team’s Collective Bargaining Agreement denied the assertion from Cordeiro’s open letter, pointing out that it would be equal to the men’s 2011 CBA rather than anything current.

“I train with U-18 boys teams at home and I said in my deposition that I’m more skillful than all of those boys there put together, but they’re bigger, they’re stronger, and they’re faster. That’s just the way that they are born. As they get older we just can’t compete with that, that’s Science, but from a skill point.”

Carli Lloyd on the claim that male players are more skilled

Frisco ties in again here. Something often brought up on social media has been that an FC Dallas U-15 boys team beat the US Women’s National Team in 2017, so why are they worth as much as a men’s team.

It’s true, a U-15 boys team did win a scrimmage 5-2 as part of the team’s preparation for a 4-0 win over Russia. It’s also true that FC Dallas U-17s tied Mexico’s Men’s National Team in a similar scrimmage. Scrimmages are useful to focus on specific areas of a game without the scoreline counting. However, they’re not a gauge of how good or bad a team is.

As a bonus here’s FC Dallas’ latest Homegrown Player, Tanner Tessmann, from the game:

Back to 2020, and still in Frisco. As the US women took to the Toyota Stadium field, there was something missing from their warm-up tops. The team opted to turn the jerseys inside-out to obscure the US Soccer logo.

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Megan Rapinoe, right, and her teammates hid U.S. Soccer’s crest by wearing their training tops inside out before a game on Wednesday night. Credit Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Two inadvertent ‘wins’ came of it – The four stars for their achievement of four World Cup wins remained visible, and the logo of US Soccer’s main sponsor, Volkswagen, was hidden.

A number of sponsors – Visa, Budweiser, Deloitte, and Coca-Cola – have openly criticized US Soccer over the pay dispute. VW had declined to give a firm comment previously, but when the German car giant pays eight figures to see its logo on those jerseys you can be sure that US Soccer will have received several phone calls from Wolfsburg.

“We just wanted to do something as a team, obviously show a solidarity not only with ourselves but all of the little girls that those words were spoken to, and all the little boys, and all the women out there as well who have been told that their less just because of who they are so we wanted to do something.”

Megan Rapinoe on the warm-up jersey gesture

As the clock reached 90 in Frisco to seal the US’ third SheBelieves Cup, the following statement from Cordeiro was released:

On behalf of U.S. Soccer, I sincerely apologize for the offense and pain caused by language in this week’s court filing, which did not reflect the values of our Federation or our tremendous admiration of our Women’s National Team. Our WNT players are incredibly talented and work tirelessly, as they have demonstrated time and again from their Olympic Gold medals to their World Cup titles.

“Even as we continue to defend the Federation in court, we are making immediate changes. I have asked the firm of Latham & Watkins to join and guide our legal strategy going forward. I have made it clear to our legal team that even as we debate facts and figures in the course of this case, we must do so with the utmost respect not only for our Women’s National Team players but for all female athletes around the world. As we do, we will continue to work to resolve this suit in the best interest of everyone involved.”

Timing is clearly not the strong suit of the US Soccer president, with no real need for such a statement at 10 pm EDT, let alone one that could overshadow the American win. As the players filtered into the mixed zone, they had clearly been informed that there was a statement but had not had a chance to read and digest it.

“That wasn’t for us. That’s for fans, that’s for the media, that’s for sponsors because that all sounded pretty similar to what we have heard before.

“You want to talk about hostility. Every negotiation that we have, those undertones are in there that were lesser. Every mediation session that we had, any time we meet with them, and obviously the reason that we filed this lawsuit. So for him to put that out saying sorry, presumably to us, we don’t buy it.”

Rapine on the statement from US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro

There’s a degree of irony to much of this occurring in the shadow of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, the site of both the “Greatest Team” exhibit on the US Women’s National Team and their four World Cup trophies.

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