U.S. Women's Soccer Team Stars Claim They're Paid 40 Percent of Men's Team Wages, File Discrimination Complaint

Members of the US Women's National Soccer Team pose during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Credit: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Five standout players from the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team — Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo — announced on Thursday, March 31, that they have filed an equal pay complaint to be paid the same amount as players on the Men's National Team.

"I think the timing is right," midfielder Lloyd, 33, told Matt Lauer on the Today show. "I think that we've proven our worth over the years. Just coming off of a World Cup win, the pay disparity between the men and women is just too large. And we want to continue to fight."

The USWNT memorably won the Women's World Cup in 2015, and earned $2 million total, which was distributed to members of the organization and the players. Approximately 26.7 million viewers tuned in to watch the women's team beat Japan in the finals last year. The accomplished female team has won three World Cup titles in the past (including the memorable 1999 championship), while their male counterparts have not taken any.

On Wednesday, March 30, the Men's National Team missed the opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics for the second Olympics in a row. 

To put things into perspective, the men's team earned $9 million, despite losing in the Round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup. The winning men's team, Germany, took home $35 million.

"I've been through numerous CBA negotiations, and honestly not much has changed," superstar goalkeeper Solo, 34, told Lauer on Thursday. "We believe now the time is right because we believe it's a responsibility for women's sports, specifically women's soccer, to really do whatever it takes for equal pay and equal rights and to be treated with respect."

Their lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler, added to Lauer on Thursday, "These women are very disappointed in U.S. soccer. When they asked for the same treatment as the men, they were told it was irrational. Now, that might be a good answer in 1816. It's not an acceptable answer in 2016."

The U.S. Soccer Federation, however, says it has yet to receive the complaint. "We're disappointed about this action,'' the organization told the Today show. "We've been a world leader in women's soccer and are proud of the commitment we've made to building the women's game in the United States over the past 30 years."

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