Talks break down, USA women's soccer team turn to court

Mediation over a dispute in pay between the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. National Women's Team dissolved Wednesday with no resolution in sight.

In June, the two sides agreed to mediation as an alternative to using the court system, but the possibility always remained that if mediation didn't work out, the case would move back into the courts.

"We entered this week's mediation with representatives of USSF full of hope", Levinson said. "Today, we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the [U.S. Soccer Federation's] determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behavior". "They will not succeed", Levinson said Wednesday.

"We want all of our fans, sponsors, peers around the world, and women everywhere to know we are undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial", the team's attorney, Molly Levinson told the outlet.

A letter dated August 12 - signed by all 28 players involved in the lawsuit and sent to U.S. Soccer officials as mediation began - outlined optimism for a resolution, but Press said Thursday that the two sides never progressed past the primary philosophical difference.

US Soccer said in a statement after talks broke down that counsel for the USWNT "took an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach".

USSF spokesman Neil Buethe also said USSF was "undaunted in our efforts to continue discussions in good faith".

The women's team's March lawsuit was filed in US District Court in California with 28 members of the team listed as plaintiffs. USSF also pointed out that the women's team receives a guaranteed base salary for the season and an additional guaranteed base salary for playing in the National Women's Soccer League.

Compensation models included in the USWNT's lawsuit argue that, if both teams won 20 games in a row, the women would be paid 38% less than their male counterparts. The total did not include the value of benefits received only by the women, like health care, Cordeiro wrote.

In a written statement in July, Levinson said the figures were misleading and "utterly false". The US women will begin preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the coming months.

The USMNT said they too "were not impressed" by Cordeiro's letter.

Complicating the issue is that the men's and women's teams operate with separate collective bargaining agreements and separate pay structures.

Many moving parts. Given the complexity of the facts of the case, the various dynamics involved in the case and the multiple arenas in which the equal pay fight is taking place, it was hard to imagine that there would be a quick resolution. "So we're sort of tethered together in that way", she said.

Minutes after the USWNT's World Cup win on July 7, Nike ran a 60-second ad celebrating the team's victory, centering on the concept that the USWNT's win is about more than just winning a soccer title. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced a bill that would withhold federal funding for the 2026 World Cup, the United States of America will co-host with Canada and Mexico, if U.S. Soccer didn't pay the women's and men's teams equally, and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced similar legislation.

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