The U.S. women’s national team will no longer have to play matches on artificial turf and will be guaranteed the same number of charter flights as the U.S. men’s national team under a proposed settlement in their discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer.
The agreement, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, also means the U.S. women can now appeal a decision from earlier this year that threw out their demands for equal pay. That had been on hold pending resolution of the lawsuit’s remaining claims, which were related to workplace conditions.
“We are pleased that the USWNT Players have fought for – and achieved – long overdue equal working conditions,” Molly Levinson, spokeswoman for the U.S. women, said in a statement. “We now intend to file our appeal to the court’s decision which does not account for the central fact in this case that women players have been paid at lesser rates than men who do the same job.
“We remain as committed as ever to our work to achieve the equal pay that we legally deserve,” Levinson added. “Our focus is on the future and ensuring we leave the game a better place for the next generation of women who will play for this team and this country.”
The USWNT sued U.S. Soccer for discrimination in March 2019, alleging the federation had violated both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. While the equal pay claim has gotten the most attention, the U.S. women also claimed they were subjected to unequal working conditions.
They were required to play domestic games on fields with artificial turf, which is tougher on a player’s body than natural grass, when the U.S. men were not. The USWNT took more commercial flights, and stayed in hotels that weren’t as nice as those the U.S. men did.
This, despite the U.S. women being wildly more successful than the U.S. men. The U.S. women won their second consecutive World Cup title in 2019, and fourth overall, and have been the world’s No. 1 team for most of the last decade.
The U.S. men failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and are No. 22 in FIFA’s current world rankings.
Under the settlement, USWNT games in the United States will be played on grass “in almost all circumstances” and U.S. Soccer will provide “an equal number of charter flights” for both teams along with “comparable budgets” for hotel accommodations.
U.S. Soccer also will provide an 18- to 21-person support staff for each team, and each team will have a medical staff that includes a lead doctor and a pool of two to five additional physicians.
Cindy Parlow Cone, U.S. Soccer’s president and a former member of the