Last year, the U.S. women's national team's sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay, though a judge dismissed the claims on Friday

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan aren't sidelining their efforts to achieve equal pay, despite an "unexpected" setback.

On Monday, the two champion members of the United States women’s national soccer team appeared on Good Morning America to respond to a judge's decision to dismiss their over-$66 million lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The soccer stars said they plan to appeal the court decision.

"This decision was out of left field for us. I think for both sides it was very unexpected," said Morgan, 30. "We will definitely be appealing and moving forward. If anyone knows anything about the heart of this team, we are fighters and we will continue to fight together for this."

She added: "This is definitely a hurdle in the road, but it’s nothing that’s going to stop or deter us from what we have always been true to, and that’s true equality in the sport. We are still feeling optimistic and we’ll get through this."

Rapinoe said she was "very shocked" by the dismissal, which Judge R. Gary Klausner wrote in his explanation was because the team didn't prove discrimination under the Equal Pay Act, according to CNN.

"It’s just so frustrating," she said. "To be honest, I think so many women go through this."

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Rapinoe added: "To say that we negotiated for our contract and that’s what we agreed to — I think so many women can understand what this feeling is ... going into a negotiation knowing equal pay is not on the table, knowing anywhere close to your male counterparts is not even on the table."

On March 8, 2019, all 28 members of the U.S. women's national team filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit to the U.S. Soccer Federation. In the lawsuit, the players alleged that they have experienced “institutionalized gender discrimination,” despite having the same job responsibilities as their male counterparts.

USA Soccer
Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Samantha Mewis on July 7, 2019, in Lyon, France.
| Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

After the dismissal, Molly Levinson, a representative for the athletes, wrote in a statement on Twitter on Friday that they are "shocked and disappointed" but "will not give up our hard work for equal pay."

"We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender," she said.

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"We have learned that there are tremendous obstacles to change; we know that it takes bravery and courage and perseverance to stand up to them," added Levinson. "We will appeal and press on. Words cannot express our gratitude to all who support us."

The U.S. Soccer Federation said in a statement that they "look forward to working with the Women’s National Team to chart a positive path forward to grow the game both here at home and around the world."

"U.S. Soccer has long been the world leader for the women’s game on and off the field," the statement continued, according to GMA. "We are committed to continuing that work to ensure our Women’s National Team remains the best in the world and sets the standard for women’s soccer."

A trial has been scheduled for June 16, the outlet reported.