USSF 'No Longer Disputes' Men's and Women's Players' Jobs Require Equal Skill

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 31, 2020

United States' Megan Rapinoe, right, United States' Alex Morgan, left, and United States' Rose Lavelle, center, pose with their trophies after the Women's World Cup final soccer match between US and The Netherlands at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France, Sunday, July 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

The United States Soccer Federation has altered language in its court filing that previously stated being a male soccer player required more skill than being a female player.

Per ESPN's Graham Hays, U.S. Soccer lawyers "softened the language and omitted references to skill, effort and responsibility" in a federal court filing March 16.

The players' attorneys filed a memorandum Tuesday that stated: "The parties have significantly narrowed the issues to be tried by way of discovery and briefing. USSF no longer disputes that the jobs of the WNT and MNT players require equal skill, effort and responsibilityand therefore have necessarily conceded that they perform equal work."

Carlos Cordeiro resigned as president of U.S. Soccer on March 12.

Per CNN's Lauren M. Johnson, the federation said in a March 9 court filing that male players have "more responsibility" and require "a higher level of skill" than female players.

"A reasonable juror could conclude that the job MNT player requires materially different skill and more responsibility than Plaintiff's job does, while also taking place under materially different working conditions," the original filing read.

Following Cordeiro's resignation, the USSF hired new legal representation and named Cindy Parlow Cone as its new president.

The U.S. women's team continues its ongoing legal battle for equal pay, though Hays noted a new filing Tuesday by U.S. Soccer laid out explicit differences that suggest there is no difference in total or per-game pay between the men's and women's squads. The filing reads:

"The undisputed facts show that the WNT and MNT are both geographically and operationally distinct. The WNT and MNT play in different venues in different cities (and often different countries), and participate in separate competitions against completely different pools of opponents. In addition, the day-to-day functions and operations of the team are overseen by separate coaching staff, technical and medical staff, and Team Administrators."

The U.S. women's soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer in March 2019. The women's squad is seeking roughly $67 million in back pay under the Equal Pay Act.