US Women’s Soccer Team Receives $719K Pay-Gap Donation Amid Equality Lawsuit

On Equal Pay Day, the U.S. Women’s National Team is getting its due.

Each of the soccer squad’s 23 members who will play in the 2019 World Cup is receiving $31,250 from its nutrition food partner Luna Bar — a total of $718,750 across the board. The figure marks the difference between the women’s roster bonus and that of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

“It’s ironic that one of the most popular sports in the world is still experiencing pay inequalities between women and men,” said Kit Crawford, owner and co-CEO of Luna Bar’s parent, Clif Bar & Co.

It also comes amid the USWNT’s lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Last month, all of the group’s 28 members collectively filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging gender discrimination and unequal wages. The lawsuit claimed that female players are consistently paid less than male players despite their more consistent and superior performance.

In an interview with Reuters published today, striker Alex Morgan also urged the need for change beyond the United States. (Sportswear giant Adidas announced early last month that it will provide the same bonuses to its sponsored players on the winning Women’s World Cup team as their male counterparts.)

“I think we realize the opportunity we have and the resources we have are due to the generation before us, and we hope to increase those opportunities and resources available for the generation after us,” Morgan said. “We might not see equal pay among athletes within our generation, but the hope is that the future generations will.”

The USWNT is the most successful team in international women’s soccer, taking home three Women’s World Cup titles, four Olympic women’s gold medals, eight Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Gold Cups and 10 Algarve Cups. (Although the men’s team has won six Concacaf Gold Cups, it has never won either of the former tournaments and failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.)

The women’s team will compete for its fourth title in June at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

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