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U.S. Soccer Foundation President and CEO: Women's pay issue 'will go on'

McKenzie DeGroot
Segment Producer

The FIFA Women’s World Cup in France is in full swing, with the United States winning their first three games while conceding no goals.

The Americans 3-0 win over Chile brought in a record-breaking viewership for a group-stage match in the Women’s World Cup with over 5 million people watching.

One aspect of professional soccer that’s been increasingly scrutinized has been the lack of equal pay between men and women.

With three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals, the women’s record far exceeds that of their male counterparts — yet players don’t make the same money.

“The pay gap is an issue, and that issue will go on,” U.S. Soccer Foundation President and CEO Ed Foster-Simeon told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

In response, the women’s national team filed a discrimination lawsuit in March against U.S. Soccer, which is separate from the U.S. Soccer Foundation. All 28 members alleged that the federation has paid them less than the men’s team.

Yet the numbers work in the women’s favor. Since their World Cup win in 2015, women’s soccer games have also produced a higher revenue than the men’s, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

From 2016-2018, they also generated $50.8 million in revenue, compared to the men’s $49.9 million, according to The Journal.

“They’ve been iconic ever since 1999, and have continued to show excellence on and off the field throughout the history of the team,” he told Yahoo Finance.

The Women's U.S. National Team fights for back-to-back World Cup titles, and equal pay.

Off the field, Powerade (KO) recently launched its “Power Has No Gender” campaign. the company partnered with the foundation to offer more access for kids in underserved communities. It’s an initiative that Foster-Simeon hopes will generate more interest in the sport among the young.

“What I’m really excited about is the ability to create more access and opportunity for girls, particularly girls and boys in underserved communities to be able to participate in this sport,” he said.

In partnership with three players on the Women’s National Team — Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn, and Kelley O’Hara — three fields will be built in the player’s hometowns of New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 12: United States defender Kelley O'Hara (5) and United States forward Alex Morgan (13) chat in game action during an International friendly match between the United States and South Africa on May 12, 2019 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Foster-Simeon added that the U.S. Soccer Foundation is “ a charitable organization which is focused on creating access and opportunity for those kids who don’t have an opportunity to participate.”

Editor’s note: The Wall Street Journal reported that women’s soccer generated $50.8 million in revenue in 2016-2018.

McKenzie DeGroot is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @degrootmckenzie

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