August 6, 2019

What the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Needs More Than Equal Pay

By Maggie Mertens

This evening, the four-time World Cup–champion U.S. women’s national soccer team will kick off its victory tour in a historic setting: the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, California. The stadium holds the record for the largest-ever attendance at a U.S. women’s sporting event (90,185), at the historic 1999 Women’s World Cup final, where Brandi Chastain’s penalty kick won it all against China.

Much has been made of the fact that the Chastains and Mia Hamms of today—Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, and their teammates—are fighting for equal pay. Chants of the phrase rang out from the stands after the team’s championship victory against the Netherlands last month, and later throughout the “Canyon of Heroes” as the women were feted with a ticker-tape parade. But there is another, maybe even more important, part of the lawsuit the USWNT filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation months before the World Cup: the demand for equal resources such as marketing funds.