US Soccer slams USWNT documentary for ‘dishonesty’

Let’s f—king go.

The acronym, LFG, is the title of the new documentary about the U.S. national women’s soccer team that the US Soccer Federation is pushing back against.

The documentary, released on Thursday, focuses on the USWNT’s continued fight for equal pay. It specifically follows the USWNT’s legal team and players Megan Rapinoe, Jessica McDonald, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Sam Mewis.

U.S. Soccer claimed that allegations made in the documentary by lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, — who represents the players in their equal pay lawsuit against U.S. Soccer — were false. The organization claimed the documentary presented “a concerning level of dishonesty” and “a misleading and inaccurate account of the facts”

On Thursday, U.S. Soccer posted a 17 message-long Twitter thread pushing back against Kessler’s claims.

US national women's soccer team
The U.S. women’s national soccer team is in the process of suing the USSF.
Getty Images

The federation claimed that Kessler misconstrued the different pay packages between the men’s and women’s national teams. It wrote that instead of “Kessler[‘s] claims that ‘merely for showing up and playing a game, the men get more per game than the women,’ ” that it was the USWNT Players Association’s desire to be compensated in this way during their 2017 contact renewal.

According to U.S. Soccer, the women’s team requested a $100,000 salary with benefits in addition to bonuses for matches rather than the pay-for-play model the men’s team follows.

“Are the bonuses smaller than the USMNT game bonuses? Yes, [because] the USWNTPA negotiated for a $100k salary and benefits. Kessler conveniently leaves out those two things and only compares bonuses. He also fails to mention the $90k+ salary U.S. Soccer pays for playing in the NWSL.

“This structure was preferred by the USWNT, as it ensures security and stability. If a player gets hurt on Jan. 2, she still gets paid her full salary (and NWSL salary). During COVID when there were no games USWNT still got paid every two [weeks and] benefits. USMNT got paid $0.”

US women's soccer team
The U.S. women’s national soccer team claims that the USSF does not compensation them equally.
Getty Images

“Our USWNT and USMNT are among the highest paid in the world, with the USWNT making more than almost every men’s national team globally. We’re confident that, working together, we can reach an agreement that benefits everyone moving forward,” the organization added.

The USSF declined to take part in the documentary to present its side in the case. In May 2020, the equal pay portion of the USWNT’s lawsuit was dismissed. However, in April, a federal judge granted a partial deal between the USSF and the USWNT, which allowed the players to appeal the earlier decision.

According to USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone, the team’s desire for the federation to pay them the disparity between the men’s and women’s FIFA prize money “would likely bankrupt” the organization. Currently, the winning team of the men’s World Cup receives $38 million in prize money while the women’s champion receives $4 million.

Kessler, however, fired back at the federation’s claims about him and the lawsuit in a statement to ESPN for creating what he believes is a false narrative.

“The USSF, regrettably, continues to try to rewrite the past, making up a narrative that it has offered an equal rate of pay to the world champion women players, but it has not.

“It lashes out at the women players and me in a juvenile Twitter storm because it knows the truth — and so does the rest of the world.”