The U.S. Soccer Federation, defending itself against a gender-discrimination case filed by members of the U.S. women’s national team, argued that playing for the men’s national team is tougher than playing for the women’s national team.
In court filings for the equal-pay lawsuit scheduled to commence May 5, the federation asserted, as reported Tuesday by multiple media outlets, “The job of a [men’s national team player] carries more responsibility within US Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player.”
“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 federation added.
“There is also evidence that MNT players face tougher competition, even on a relative basis. There is a significantly deeper pool of competition in men’s international soccer than there is in women’s international soccer, even when assessing the issue in relative terms.”
U.S. Women’s National Team players spokesman Molly Levison replied, according to ESPN, “This ridiculous ‘argument’ belongs in the Paleolithic Era. It sounds as if it has been made by a caveman. Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument that male players ‘have more responsibility’ is just plain, simple sexism and illustrates the very gender discrimination that caused us to file this lawsuit to begin with. So looking forward to trial on May 5.”
The U.S. women’s national team is the two-time defending World Cup champion. The U.S. men’s national team failed to qualify for the most recent World Cup.
US Soccer poses tough questions about men versus women
According to BuzzFeed, a U.S. Soccer Federation lawyer asked women’s national team star Carli Lloyd during a deposition hearing last month, “Do you think that the [women’s] team could be competitive against the senior men’s national team?”
Lloyd reportedly answered, “I’m not sure. Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?”
Per BuzzFeed, A U.S. Soccer Federation lawyer reportedly asked women’s team forward Alex Morgan, “Do you think it requires more skill to play for the US Men’s National Team than the US Women’s National Team?”
Morgan reportedly replied, “No. It’s a different skill.”
(Reporting by Field Level Media)