U.S. Soccer made what the organization really thinks about men's and women's soccer known in a court filing on Monday. The U.S. Soccer Federation -- a group being sued by members of the women's national team over unequal pay between the men's and women's teams -- argued that the work of the women representing America on the pitch is less demanding, and requires less skill, than the same work of their male counterparts.
In an effort to prove the organization has not discriminated against the World Cup-winning squad because of players' gender, U.S. Soccer argued specifically that "The job of a [men's national team player] carries more responsibility within U.S. Soccer than the job of a [women's national team] player," according to court documents posted by Buzzfeed News.
Here's how a USWNT spokesperson responded:
USSF lawyers also tried to invoke biological differences between men and women to say that playing on the men's team "requires a higher level of skill" in the sport than it does for the women's team.
Lawyers have broached that subject with members of the women's national team, including Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan. They asked Lloyd if the women "could be competitive against the senior men's national team?" and asked Morgan if "it requires more skill to play for the U.S. Men's National Team than the U.S. Women's National Team?" Lloyd suggested the men and women play it out for higher pay, while Morgan replied to her question that it requires a different skill.
U.S. Soccer has also argued that playing for the men's team is more difficult because the team sometimes faces home crowds with more opposing supporters than home ones.
Games for the U.S. women's team have generated more revenue than those of the men's team since 2015, with the major difference in earnings between the two mainly coming from the difference in prize money the two sides get from FIFA. Members of the women's squad are asking for around $67 million in back pay for U.S. Soccer allegedly violating the Equal Pay Act.