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Former USWNT star Hope Solo objects to ‘unfair’ equal pay settlement

(Joern Pollex/FIFA via Getty Images)

Former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo is objecting to the settlement her former teammates reached with the U.S. Soccer Federation in their equal pay lawsuit, per a notice she filed in federal court Tuesday.

Solo sued U.S. Soccer in August 2018 for violating the federal Equal Pay Act, though her case has not yet gone to trial.

In 2019, a group of 28 USWNT players, including Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, filed their own gender discrimination lawsuit against the federation. Those players reached a proposed $24 million settlement in February, with a final approval hearing set for Dec. 5.

As part of the settlement, U.S. Soccer agreed to historic collective bargaining agreements with the unions for its women’s and men’s national teams, which guarantees equal pay for both squads. The USWNT formally signed the new CBA in September.

Solo, as a former member of the USWNT, can object to the settlement, as the players’ lawsuit was filed as a class action.

“It’s unfair to ask players to accept as ‘fair, adequate and reasonable’ a settlement in which the only thing that is described and explained with certainty is how much the lawyers will be paid,” Solo said in a statement.

“Without knowing how much each player — including me for our Title VII claims — will be paid, or when we will get paid, it’s impossible for players to determine whether or not the proposed settlement and whatever payment we each receive is fair, adequate or reasonable,” she continued.

While U.S. Soccer declined to comment, Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the group of players who reached the settlement, focused on the landmark nature of the deal.

“This historic resolution has been recognized as one of the greatest victories for equal pay,” Molly Levinson said in a statement. “We look forward to the court’s final approval hearing.”

UCLA law professor Steven Bank speculated that Solo’s objection could rest on the settlement treating retired players such as Solo differently than current players, as the settlement was contingent on the new CBA — from which past players, including Solo, will not benefit directly.

Bank also said Solo’s objection could at least delay the final approval of the settlement. And even if a judge were to approve the settlement in December, the former USWNT goalkeeper could appeal.