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Megan Rapinoe: Any discussions with U.S. Soccer need to start with equal pay

Chicago Red Stars v Seattle Reign
Megan Rapinoe of Seattle Reign FC looks on as she is celebrated by the city of Tacoma, Wash., on July 28 for her role in the U.S. victory in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
(Abbie Parr / Getty Images)

Players for the women’s national soccer team say they’re ready for a jury trial in their dispute with the U.S. Soccer Federation over equal pay.

Of course they are. These women just won their second straight World Cup and haven’t lost in their last 16 games at that tournament, a streak that started in 2011. They’ve suffered only two defeats in their last 50 matches, outscoring the opposition 159-32.

They expect to win.

“I think you’re asking the wrong people ‘What if we lose?’” USWNT player Christen Press said Thursday regarding the risks of going to trial. “That’s not generally how we approach things.”

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Press and teammate Megan Rapinoe appeared on “Good Morning America” the day after the players walked out of mediation talks with U.S. Soccer, and months after suing the organization for equitable pay and working conditions to their counterparts on the men’s national team.

“We did have a lot of faith and hope and we were very optimistic that we could come together and get to a better place,” Rapinoe said of entering mediation. “But unfortunately we’re here.”

After the talks broke down Wednesday, U.S. Soccer released a statement saying the players’ counsel took “an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach” to mediation.

The federation added: “We value our players, and have continually shown that, by providing them with compensation and support that exceeds any other women’s team in the world.”

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The players said Thursday that they insist on being shown their value in a very specific way.

“I think it’s quite simple from our perspective,” Press said. “We want to be paid equally, and that just means when we show up to a game that we get compensated the same way that a man would for showing up for the same game because on this issue there is no social equality for women without financial equality.”

Rapinoe added: “If and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward ... we’re always open for that.”

The rallying cry that rose, full-throated, in the wake of the national team’s victory in last weekend’s Women’s World Cup final would fit nicely on a bumper sticker, which is kind of the point.


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