Solo seeks presidency of U.S. Soccer

She’s a World Cup winner and an Olympic champion, and now, former U.S. Soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo is looking to add another item to her resume: president.

According to ABC News, Solo took to Facebook to announce her candidacy for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, following a recent announcement by current president Sunil Gulati of his decision to not pursue a fourth term. While the former goalie was suspended from the U.S. Women’s National team following comments about their World Cup semifinal opponents, ABC reports that Solo says she has exactly what it takes to lead the federation:

“I know exactly what U.S. Soccer needs to do, I know exactly how to do it, and I possess the fortitude to get it done,” she wrote. “I have always been willing to sacrifice for what I believe in and I believe there is no greater sacrifice then fighting for equal opportunity, integrity and honesty, especially in an organization like the USSF that could give so much more to our communities across the nation.”

So, what’s her campaign platform? ABC says Solo not only wants to foster a culture of winning and transparency within the federation, she also wants to “push for equal pay for the women’s national team and all women within U.S. Soccer” and “address the ‘pay-to-play’ model and make soccer accessible to all.”

Solo isn’t the only female running for the position, however, with ABC reporting that Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter also threw her hat in the ring for the February election.

Equal pay for equal play

Five players from the U.S. Women’s  National Soccer Team filed a complaint on Wednesday, March 30, accusing U.S. Soccer of wage discrimination, according to The New York Times. But on Sunday, April 10, one of the players filing the complaint expressed her frustration with the pay gap she’s experienced first hand in an op-ed that appeared in the Times.

According to The Huffington Post, soccer champion Carli Lloyd took to the Times to explain why she joined her four teammates — Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo — in filing the wage discrimination complaint. While it had nothing to do with her love of playing soccer for the U.S., she said it had “everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair, and with upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play.”

The members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s concerns are not unfounded. According to a July 2015 article from CNBC, the nine teams comprising the league have a $265,000 salary cap. Each franchise, then, has to “pay their players a minimum of $6,842 per year, with a ceiling of $37,800,” according to CNBC.

The men’s Major League Soccer, however, tells a much different story. Besides a salary cap of $3 million, CNBC reports, “The average MLS player makes $305,809 annually, according to sports analytics site sportingintelligence. However, the highest-paid players in the league inflate that number, as the median salary in the league sits much lower, even below $100,000 by some measurements.”

Showing a penchant to pay men more than their female counterparts, Lloyd and her teammates’ desire to change such discrimination is rooted not only in the numbers, but in the way such treatment takes its toll on them.

“Simply put, we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens. It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it, ” she wrote of the pay gap.

Lloyd even employed other pay gap data from the league, sharing that “the top five players on the men’s team make an average of $406,000 each year from these games. The top five women are guaranteed only $72,000 each year.”

Citing other differences between male and female soccer players’ winning bonuses, as well as bonuses for making the World Cup team, among other numbers, it is evident that Lloyd and her teammates are ready for a change.

“If I’ve learned anything in my career, it’s that nothing worthwhile in life comes easy,” she said. “That’s just the way it is. This isn’t about a money grab. It’s about doing the right thing, the fair thing. It’s about treating people the way they deserve to be treated, no matter their gender.”