Soccer

Women's national soccer team players sue for equitable pay

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Women's national soccer team players sue for equitable pay

Players for the U.S. women's national soccer team have filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit seeking pay that is equitable to that of their male counterparts.

The action comes just three months before the team will defend its title at the Women's World Cup in France.

The players allege that they have been subject to ongoing "institutionalized gender discrimination," including unequal pay, despite having the same job responsibilities as players on the men's national team. The 28 members of the current national team player pool joined in the class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, which was filed Friday in federal court in Los Angeles under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The players are seeking equitable pay and treatment, in addition to damages including back pay.

"We believe it is our duty to be the role models that we've set out to be and fight to what we know we legally deserve," forward Christen Press told The Associated Press. "And hopefully in that way it inspires women everywhere."

The U.S. Women's National Team Players Association was not party to the lawsuit, but in a statement said it "supports the plaintiffs' goal of eliminating gender-based discrimination by USSF."

The U.S. Soccer Federation didn't have an immediate comment.

The USSF has maintained in the past that much of the pay disparity between the men's and women's teams results from separate collective bargaining agreements.??

The women's team set up its compensation structure, which included a guaranteed salary rather than a pay-for-play model like the men, in the last labor contract. The players also earn salaries -- paid by the federation -- for playing in the National Women's Soccer League.??

The women receive other benefits, including health care, that the men's national team players don't receive, the federation has maintained.

This is not the first time the players have sought equitable compensation and conditions.

A group of players filed a complaint in 2016 with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that alleged wage discrimination by the federation. The players maintained that players for the men's team earned far more than they did, in many cases despite comparable work.

The lawsuit effectively ends that EEOC complaint, brought by Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd and former goalkeeper Hope Solo. The players received a right to sue letter from the EEOC last month.

The team took the fight for equality into contract negotiations and struck a collective bargaining agreement in 2017 that runs through 2021.

The players received raises in base pay and bonuses as well as better provisions for travel and accommodations, including increased per diems. It also gave the players some control of certain licensing and marketing rights. Specific details about the deal were not disclosed.

"This lawsuit is an effort by the plaintiffs to address those serious issues through the exercise of their individual rights. For its part, the USWNTPA will continue to seek improvements in pay and working conditions through the labor-management and collective bargaining processes," the players' union said.

The lawsuit filed Friday seeks "an adjustment of the wage rates and benefits for Plaintiffs Morgan, Lloyd, Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn and the class to the level these Plaintiffs and the class would be enjoying but for the USSF's discriminatory practices."

"At the heart of this whole issue we believe that it's the right thing. We believe that there has been discrimination against us," midfielder Megan Rapinoe said. "And while we have fought very hard and for a long time, whether that be through our CBA or through our players association, putting ourselves in the best possible position that we can to get the best deal that we can, we still feel that we don't have what we're trying to achieve, which is equality in the workplace."

Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

With playoffs on the line, the Washington Spirit hosts the NC Courage in a must-win regular-season home finale Saturday night.

NC Courage sits high atop their first-place throne with an icy six-win streak, 14-4--4 record overall leading the NWSL with 46 points, 31 goal differential, 50 goals for and 19 goals against. The struggling Spirit, with one win, one loss and three draws in their past five matches, need to find a way to crack the Courage and tack on another win to keep postseason hopes alive.

Mallory Pugh has made strong moves for the Spirit since returning from injury and will be a key player to breakthrough the Courage defense with nine clean sheets (just one more than Washington) and averaging 0.9 goals allowed per game.

The Spirit cannot afford to lose this game if they want to snag a playoff spot, and that chase continues in Maryland.

SPIRIT-COURAGE GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Spirit vs. NC Courage

Where: Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, MD

When: Saturday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington 

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Washington Spirit vs Houston Dash: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

Washington Spirit vs Houston Dash: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

The Washington Spirit will make their way to Houston in hopes to secure three points against the Houston Dash on Wednesday night.  

The Spirit are coming off of a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars, dropping them to 7W-8L-5D. 

For the first time in quite a while, both midfielder Rose Lavelle and forward Mallory Pugh took the field against the Red Stars. Lavelle returned to the lineup after suffering a head injury a few months ago and played 45 minutes in her first game since August 17. 

During the 80th minute, Pugh scored her first goal of the season but it wasn’t enough to take the lead over the Dash. 

Wednesday nights game will be Washington’s first time as a part of the NWSL’s new broadcast deal with ESPN. 

Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. 

SPIRIT-DASH GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash 

Where: BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX

When: Wednesday, September 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2 

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