U.S. Soccer President Steps Down amid Backlash over Women's Team Equal Pay Lawsuit
Carlos Cordeiro admitted he did not "fully review" the court documents criticizing the women's soccer team earlier this week
Carlos Cordeiro, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, announced his resignation Thursday days after the organization was slammed for its response to the United States’ women’s national soccer team’s equal pay lawsuit.
The 64-year-old executive apologized for the federation’s legal filings which “caused great offense and pain” and shared that he would be resigning “effective immediately,” according to a statement posted to Twitter.
“It has been an incredible privilege to serve our Federation for the past 13 years,” he wrote, appointing Cindy Parlow Cone, the federation’s vice president, as his replacement.
“My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our Federation, and it has become clear to me that what is best right now is a new direction,” Cordeiro explained.
“The arguments and language continued in this week’s legal filing caused great offense and pain, especially to our extraordinary Women’s National Team players who deserve better,” he said.
In a Monday court filing, the U.S. Soccer Federation outlined new arguments as to why the USWNT is paid less than the USMNT, asserting that it has nothing to do with gender discrimination.
The federation argued, “The job of a [men’s national team player] carries more responsibility within US Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player.”
In his resignation, Cordeiro admitted that he “did not have the opportunity to fully review the filing in its entirety before it was submitted, and I take responsibility for doing so.”
He added, “Had I done so, I would have objected to that language that did not reflect my personal admiration for our women’s players or our values as an organization.”
In the USWNT lawsuit, which was filed in March 2019 in Los Angeles federal court under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the players — which include Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe — claim that they are not paid equally to the men’s national players.
Now, the players on the USWNT are asking to be awarded over $66 million in damages.
“As U.S. Soccer moves ahead with its defense against the lawsuit by the team, I hope that our remarkable women’s players are always treated with the dignity, respect, and admiration that they truly deserve,” Cordeiro closed the statement.
The U.S. Soccer Federation has previously argued that the women’s team, which is represented by a separate union from the men’s team, rejected a “pay-to-play agreement” that was similar to the men’s team.
“At the moment, the Women’s National Team players are paid differently because they specifically asked for, and negotiated, a completely different contract than the Men’s National Team, despite being offered, and rejecting, a similar pay-to-play agreement during the past negotiations,” the USSF said in a statement to ESPN.
Cordeiro announced news of this rejection one night before the She Believes Cup — a women’s tournament hosted by U.S. Soccer around International Women’s Day.
“I guess if that’s how you want to celebrate International Women’s Day and show support for not only your players but future players and girls all over the place, that’s one way to do it,” Rapinoe told The Athletic.