The U.S. women's national soccer team was dealt a legal blow Friday when a federal judge threw out their unequal pay claim in the more than $66 million lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner will allow the players' allegations of discriminatory hotel and flight accommodations, training support services and medical support services to stand.
The players, including co-captain Alex Morgan, who is personally named in the decision, alleged in their lawsuit that the United States Soccer Federation violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Klausner disagreed on the former.
"[The] history of negotiations between the parties demonstrates that the [women's national team] rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the [men's national team], and that the WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for other benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players," he wrote. "Accordingly, Plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their [collective bargaining agreement] worse than the MNT CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT's pay-to-play structure when they themselves rejected such a structure."
Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players, told ABC News in a statement that they are "shocked and disappointed with today's decision," and plan to appeal.
“We will not give up our hard work for equal pay. We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women who play this sport will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender," she said. "We have learned that there are tremendous obstacles to change; we know that it takes bravery and courage and perseverance to stand up to them. We will appeal and press on. Words cannot express our gratitude to all who support us.”
The United States Soccer Federation said in a statement, "We look forward to working with the Women’s National Team to chart a positive path forward to grow the game both here at home and around the world. U.S. Soccer has long been the world leader for the women’s game on and off the field, and we are committed to continuing that work to ensure our Women’s National Team remains the best in the world and sets the standard for women’s soccer."
Several national team players have spoken out on social media, including Megan Rapinoe, who won FIFA's women's player of the year award in 2019, Ali Krieger and Christen Press.
We will never stop fighting for EQUALITY.— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) May 2, 2020
We will continue to fight like hell and get what we deserve. https://t.co/fwfOMaBfp7— Ali Krieger (@alikrieger) May 2, 2020
We will continue on in the fight for equal pay. https://t.co/GmI16NssIh— Christen Press (@ChristenPress) May 1, 2020
A trial has been set for June 16 in Los Angeles.
The women's national team won the World Cup in 2015 and 2019, and last won the Olympic gold in 2012. Due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games over COVID-19 concerns, the team will not get a chance to show if it can reclaim the top spot on the Olympic podium until at least 2021.
ABC News' Mark Osborne contributed to this report.
Judge throws out unequal pay claim made by US women's national team originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com