The head of the U.S. Soccer Federation resigned his post Thursday night, citing wording in a court filing that was part of the USSF’s ongoing pay dispute with the women’s national team players.
“My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our federation, and it has become clear to me that is what is best right now is a new direction,” Carlos Cordeiro said in letter to USSF members.
“The arguments and language contained in this week’s legal filing caused great offense and pain, especially to our extraordinary women’s national team players who deserve better. It was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
Cordeiro, who was elected to his post in 2019, was referring to a brief filed Monday with a California federal district court.
The women’s national team players have sued the federation, arguing that gender discrimination has resulted in them receiving unequal pay.
Lawyers for the USSF argued in the filing that the women are not entitled to the same compensation as their male counterparts since their jobs do not require “equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.”
“The overall soccer-playing ability required to compete at the senior men’s national team level is materially influenced by the level of certain physical attributes … such as speed and strength, required for the job,” the USSF argued.
The case is scheduled to go to trial May 5.
The wording enraged members of the women’s team, who on Wednesday protested by wearing their uniform jerseys inside out during pregame warm-ups and the playing of the national anthems before an exhibition game against Japan.
“Every negotiation that we have, those undertones are there, that we’re lesser”
Cordeiro issued an apology just before the conclusion of the women’s 3-1 victory in Frisco, Texas, but it still didn’t sit well with midfielder and co-captain Megan Rapinoe.
“Every negotiation that we have, those undertones are there, that we’re lesser,” Rapinoe told ESPN after the game.
In his resignation letter, Cordeiro said he did not review the filing and, had he done so, he “would have objected to the language.”