‘We need the culture to change’ – USWNT star Lloyd responds to sexist U.S. Soccer arguments in lawsuit

The legal strategy generated outrage among fans and sponsors, leading to last month’s resignation of president Carlos Cordeiro

United States women’s national team star Carli Lloyd has spoken out about U.S. Soccer’s sexist legal arguments against her team that caused widespread outrage.

In court filings released last month, the American soccer federation argued that their women’s national team did not deserve the same amount of money as the men’s team because, in part, they are not as strong or fast as the men, and have less responsibility.

“The job of MNT player (competing against senior men’s national teams) requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength than does the job of WNT player (competing against senior women’s national teams),” the federation stated.

The outrage over that legal argument led U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro to resign, and for the federation to change their legal team and scrap the sexist strategy they had used.

Though there was plenty of backlash in March, U.S. Soccer’s strategy had previously been made clear by court filings released in February that included an exchange where a lawyer asked Lloyd if she believed the women’s national team could be competitive against the men’s national team.

“I’m not sure,” Lloyd replied. “Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?”

The USWNT originally filed suit in March 2019, alleging that U.S. Soccer was violating the law by paying unequally because of their gender. 

With a trial currently set for May, Lloyd said she was dismayed to see her federation’s legal arguments against the four-time World Cup champions, explaining her now-infamous retort to the U.S. Soccer lawyer.

“I don’t have the physical attributes and the speed and the strength that male athletes are born with,” Lloyd told Sports Illustrated. “None of us women do.

“There are some incredibly skillful women that play soccer, and it was just disappointing to hear over and over again the argument of us not being as skilled as the men.

“So I had to find some funny remarks just to kind of keep the whole mood light. That was just one of them that came out and went public.”

Lloyd went on to suggest that training camps involving the USWNT and USMNT could help instill more unity among American players. 

“As a whole, we need the culture to change,” Lloyd said. “We need everybody to feel united. I wish that we integrated more with the men’s team.”