(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

United States women’s national team players are endorsing Cindy Parlow Cone ahead of the U.S. Soccer presidential election on Saturday.

Thirty-two players, including Becky Sauerbrunn, Megan Rapinoe and Catarina Macario, released a statement on Friday backing Cone.

“The U.S. Soccer Federation needs a leader who will move our sport forward, not backward. That is why we are endorsing Cindy Parlow Cone for President,” the players wrote. “We respect Cindy’s integrity, her passion for the game as a former player and a coach, her pragmatic approach as a business leader, and commitment to its players at all levels from our national teams to the grassroots level.”

The players cited the team’s recent settlement with U.S. Soccer, which promised to equalize pay between the men’s and women’s national teams upon ratification of a CBA, as evidence of Cone’s commitment to progress and equality.

Cone is running against former U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro, who resigned from the post in March 2020 while under scrutiny for his handling of the equal pay lawsuit. During his tenure, U.S. Soccer’s lawyers argued in court that the women should be paid less due to their inherent physical inferiority to the men’s players.

The election for U.S. Soccer president will take place on Saturday, with members of the 23-player Athletes Council a part of the voting body. Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Sauerbrunn and Lynn Williams are members of the 23-player Athletes Council that serves on the voting committee. Each of them signed the letter endorsing Cone.