CHICAGO, June 1 (UPI) -- The United States Soccer Federation [USSF] is claiming that differences in compensation between the U.S. women's and men's national teams are "driven by factors other than gender."
The USSF filed its defense Tuesday, against charges that it violated anti-discrimination laws by not paying women on the national team as high of a salary as the men. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] received the USSF's response Tuesday at its Chicago office.
Five players filed the EEOC complaint in March. Those players were: Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Megan Rapinoe, and Carli Lloyd. Latham & Watkins is a law firm representing the USSF.
"Any differences in the compensation paid MNT and WNT players are driven by factors other than gender," Kathryn H. Ruemmler, an attorney with Latham & Watkins, wrote in the response, according to the Wall Street Journal. "Because the record powerfully rebuts the Charge's claim that the United States Women's National Team's compensation is the product of discriminatory animus, the Charge should be dismissed."
The USSF insists that U.S. women's soccer players are paid more than anywhere else in the world.
The USWNT earned $2 million for its 2015 Women's World Cup victory. The USMNT made $9 million when it lost in the round of 16 in the 2014 Men's World Cup.
U.S. women's lead attorney Jeffrey Kessler told the Wall Street Journal that both men and women "should be appalled by this claimed defense."
"It is like arguing there is no discrimination when you pay men $20 dollars an hour and women $15 an hour, but the women work 25 percent more hours than the men and get a bonus for outstanding production, so they make almost as much," Kessler told WSJ.
The USSF explains that the complaint is "especially unfair" due to the more lucrative nature of the men's game.
Between 2008 and 2015, men's revenue totaled about $144 million, while the women generated $53 million. Men's attendance, averaging 33,471 between 2011 and 2015, was more than double the attendance for the women's national team's games.
Last month, the U.S. Senate passed an equal pay resolution for the USWNT. The unanimously approved resolution called for the USSF to "immediately end gender pay inequity and to treat all athletes with the respect and dignity those athletes deserve."
"But despite all of these tremendous successes, these players do not get paid on par with their male counterparts," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said.
"This isn't just about the money. It's also about the message it sends to women and girls across our country and the world," Murray said. "The pay gap between the men and women's national soccer teams is emblematic of what is happening all across our country."