Hope Solo, a former U.S. goalkeeper, stated on Wednesday that the women's national team's $24 million settlement with US Soccer over an equal pay lawsuit was not the huge triumph it was being trumpeted as, but rather "heartbreaking and frightening."
Solo's comments came a day after the team and its administration of US Soccer announced a settlement that would follow the conclusion of a new collective bargaining agreement with players on the US Women's National Team.
"Read the fine print. 'Contingent upon the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement,' Solo wrote in a social media post. "It does not exist yet and is not guaranteed.
"If the players had ever been successful in negotiating an equal CBA, there would have been no reason to sue the federation in the first place."
In all friendships and tournaments, including the World Cup, U.S. Soccer is committed to promoting an equal pay rate for women's and men's national teams.
Solo, who assisted the US women's team to win two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup during her career, said that a promise of equal pay and "backpay" for a select group of players was not equal pay nor what the outcome.
"This settlement isn't a 'huge win.' It's incredibly distressing and infuriating," Solo writes.
Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for USWNT players, did not respond immediately when asked by Reuters via email to make a comment on Solo's remarks.
In 2019, the USWNT filed a lawsuit against US soccer's governing body, seeking $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act for allegations of gender discrimination in compensation and almost every other aspect of their playing conditions.
In 2016, Solo was one of five top USWNT players who filed a federal wage discrimination complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that they were paid less than male players even though they raised more income for US Soccer.
Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe were all among the other players who filed the federal wage complaint with Solo in 2016.
Rapinoe and Morgan, who were among the players who fought against the federal government, were the most comfortable with U.S. Soccer throughout the process and continued to accept terms she described as nowhere near what they anticipated.
"They both know this is not a victory. They know it's an easy out of a fight they were never really in," Solo said of the president's candidacy in 2018.
"The equal pay lawsuit against United States Soccer I filed for the benefit of the team long before the match was filed, is still ongoing, and I continue to fight for all players past, present, and future."
Neither Rapinoe nor Morgan have been reached for comment.
The collective bargaining agreement between the United States WNT expired on December 31 but was extended until March 31.
Cindy Parlow Cone, president of US Soccer, said she had met the USWNT Players Association several times a week, and that they were inviting the men's team to women's discussions and vice versa.