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How the 3 co-captains of the U.S. women’s national soccer team are fighting for women athletes everywhere

How the 3 co-captains of the U.S. women’s national soccer team are fighting for women athletes everywhere
[Illustration: Artur Tenczyński]


U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team co-captains Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe play by the same rules with the same ball on the same field as their male counterparts. Yet they brought home a combined $1,725,000 for winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup, while the U.S. Men’s National Team earned more than twice that for losing in the men’s 2014 round of 16. “It pisses me off,” Rapinoe says of the disparity. “But it’s also energizing.” With the 2019 Women’s World Cup beginning this month, the women’s team is taking a stand by suing their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, for gender discrimination. “If we don’t do this now, we will not push barriers,” says Lloyd, who scored her first international goal in 2006. The suit addresses compensation and working conditions, and seeks to demonstrate how investments in areas like marketing and staffing affect attendance and viewership—which, in turn, affect pay. The team makes its argument from a place of strength: They have won Olympic gold four times. But they see their fight as part of a broader effort to lift the status of other women’s teams and agitate for reform within FIFA, soccer’s fogyish international governing organization. Morgan, for example, has been talking to players from Brazil and Australia about collective bargaining. “Information is powerful,” she says.

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