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Rapinoe: I put on the USWNT shirt for equal pay, not for U.S. Soccer

The team’s star has been at the forefront of their ongoing battle for more equitable pay from their federation

Megan Rapinoe has said that to her, the U.S. women’s national team (USWNT) jersey represents her team’s ongoing fight for equal pay, not the federation they continue to battle. 

The team’s lawsuit, which was filed in 2019, alleges U.S. Soccer pays the USWNT less than the men’s national team due to their gender. 

The USWNT and U.S. Soccer recently settled part of the lawsuit – a complaint over working conditions – but after a judge ruled in U.S. Soccer’s favour last year over pay discrimination, the USWNT is planning an appeal.

What was said?

“I would much rather be spending my time doing absolutely anything else other than fighting the federation all the time for something I feel like I deserve, but that is part of it,” Rapinoe told ESPN. “For me, when I pull on the shirt, I’m not thinking about the federation.

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“I feel like I pull on this shirt for equal pay and for the fans and for kids who want to be in my position. So that never feels in conflict.

“It’s ironic all the time. We play in full stadiums most of the time. We win most of the games. Sponsorships for all of us individually are up. We won the World Cup. We entertain. We do everything we are asked to do so it is frustrating.”

What is the status of the USWNT lawsuit?

In December, the USWNT and U.S. Soccer reached a settlement over one portion of the team’s lawsuit, involving unequal working conditions.

As part of the settlement, U.S. Soccer agreed to revised policies over charter flights, venue selection, professional support, and hotel accommodations.

The settlement allowed the USWNT to move forward with their appeal over a federal judge’s May 2020 ruling in U.S. Soccer’s favour over the team’s pay discrimination claim.

What’s next for the USWNT?

After winning the SheBelieves Cup last month, the USWNT are set for two challenging friendlies in Europe next month. They will face Sweden in Stockholm on April 10 before taking on France in Le Havre on April 13.

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Following those two games, the USWNT will play three matches at the Tournament of Nations in June, before the Olympics are scheduled to begin in July. 

The USWNT is looking to bounce back in Tokyo this summer after they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage in Rio in 2016, the first time the team ever failed to win a medal in an Olympic tournament.

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