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US Women's Soccer Players Allege Pay Discrimination

  • VOA News

United States' Carli Lloyd (10) and Alex Morgan (13) wait for play to continue during an Olympic qualifying tournament soccer match against Mexico, Feb. 13, 2016, in Frisco, Texas.

United States' Carli Lloyd (10) and Alex Morgan (13) wait for play to continue during an Olympic qualifying tournament soccer match against Mexico, Feb. 13, 2016, in Frisco, Texas.

Several players on the World Cup champion U.S. women's soccer team say they are being discriminated against by being paid less than their male counterparts.

The accusation came in a federal complaint filed Thursday to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination.

The players represented in the complaint include Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Hope Solo - all key members of the U.S. women's team.

"The reality is that this team is more valuable to the [United States Soccer Federation] than the men's team has been. That's what the facts show," said Jeffrey Kessler, one of the attorneys representing the players.

"They would be justified in asking for more than the men are receiving. But the first step that they are seeking is equal treatment," he added.

In a statement, U.S. Soccer said it had not seen the complaint, but that it was "disappointed" about the action.

"We have been a world leader in women’s soccer and are proud of the commitment we have made to building the women’s game in the United States over the past 30 years," the U.S. Soccer statement said.

The U.S. women's team won the World Cup last year, in 1991 and in 1999. It has never finished below third place. By comparison, the U.S. men's team has never won a World Cup. Its best finish came in 1930, when it took third place.

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