Story at a glance

  • U.S. Soccer argued in a court filing for an equal pay lawsuit that male players carry more responsibility than female players.
  • After the U.S. women's national team won a game against Japan, Megan Rapinoe responded to the filings.
  • The president of U.S. Soccer Carlos Cordeiro issued an apology for the language in the filing.

With three goals to win their match against Japan on March 11, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Lindsey Horan fired back at a court filing by U.S. Soccer that argued male players have more "skill" than female players. And after showing her prowess on the field, Rapinoe doubled down off the field.  

"Is that truly how they feel about 50 percent of the population that they are supposed to be stewarding into the game of soccer?” Rapinoe told reporters after the game. “I don't think anyone wants to sponsor an organisation that is being blatantly misogynistic and sexist. I know that we're in a contentious fight but that crossed a line completely."

In the filing in the equal pay lawsuit filed by the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT), U.S. Soccer argued “the job of MNT player carries more responsibility within U.S. Soccer than the job of WNT player, from an EPA standpoint.” The organization went on to claim the job of male players "requires a higher level of skill" and "more responsibility."

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After pushback from the USWNT and fans, Carlos Cordeiro, the president of U.S. Soccer, issued an apology in a statement. 

“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,” he said. 

The organization said they’re making immediate changes and bringing on law firm Latham & Watkins to guide their legal strategy. But Rapinoe said she didn’t buy the apology. 

"That [statement] wasn't for us. That was for fans, for the media, for sponsors, because that all sounded pretty similar to what we've heard before," she told reporters after the game. 

USWNT players took matters into their own hands before the game against Japan on March 11, wearing their training tops turned inside out so the U.S. Soccer crest and Nike logo were not visible. Only the four stars for the team’s four World Cup championships could be seen. 

Published on Mar 12, 2020