The USWNT will soon enter mediation with the U.S. Soccer Federation in an effort to resolve the team’s equal pay lawsuit. Former USWNT star Hope Solo is concerned about whether the current national team will have the kind of cussed hard-ass they’ll need on their side so that they don’t settle for anything less than total victory, and she has generously volunteered to be that person.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Solo has filed a motion in the court that is overseeing the equal pay lawsuit requesting to be allowed to join the mediation process when it begins. As laid out in her caustic motion, Solo does not seem to put much faith in the current USWNTer’s ability to stick to their principles and come away with a pay structure equal to that of the men’s national team.
In describing the previous round of collective bargaining, back when some members of the national team—Solo chief among them—started to seriously push for equal pay, Solo says the team “backed-down, kept their jobs, took the unequal compensation, and forfeited the prospects for Equal Pay.” The USWNT’s decision this time around to enter mediation rather than keep the matter in court has Solo worried that the team, as her motion puts it, “is poised to, once again, accede to the USSF’s intimidation and fear tactics, and ‘surrender’ on their demands for equal pay.”
Solo was part of the group of five USWNT players who first sued U.S. Soccer for pay discrimination back in 2016. That lawsuit is technically still active, though it has been superseded by the present case, which could resolve both disputes. For that reason, Solo, while not being a direct party to the current suit, still maintains an interest in its resolution, which gives her the standing to file her new motion. A bad result in this case could undercut or even eliminate her own case, hence why Solo wants in.
Solo argues in her motion that her status as a former player gives her an advantage over the team’s players, as it lets her negotiate without “fear of USSF retribution or retaliation.” The WSJ reached out to a spokesperson for the USWNT, who said “This team has proved to the world they never give up. They’re champions on and off the field.” A spokesperson for U.S. Soccer said the federation isn’t against letting Solo join.
Solo’s penchant for calling people cowards might not have endeared her to, well, anybody involved in the game, but she’s also right more often than not about a whole host of things, and was one of the founders of the USWNT’s equal pay movement. Her joining negotiations might not be what anyone wants, but it could be exactly what everyone needs.
[Wall Street Journal]