The Conversation with USWNT players Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 8:54 PM

The aim is to cover topics high and low, deep and less so, to present a fresh see at folks we think we know and meet some others we wish we'd known all along.

The Conversation with USWNT players Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo

In this signature espnW column, Allison Glock sits down for a candid Q&A with remarkable people. The aim is to cover topics high and low, deep and less so, to present a fresh see at folks we think we know and meet some others we wish we'd known all along. Welcome to The Conversation.

***

I didn't sleep much.

[Other women laugh]

I'm filled with anxiety. It'south been hectic getting prepared for this morning, but I perceive much better presently that it'south been filed.

We perceive we're fighting the right fight. We're on the right side of history here. So we've nothing to be too frightened about. But the whole idea of filing a complaint against your employer is a little ... daunting.

We kind of exhausted every other avenue. This was the following logical step for us. We were forced to do something that brings all this to light, that makes U. S. Soccer justify why they pay us less than the men. They've number justification anymore and we needed them to see that.

A report came out from U. S. Soccer listing the income and the finances, showing we brought in $sixteen million this past year. The facts are the facts. We've proven ourselves over the years with four Olympics, three World Cups. It'south the right timing.

We're the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships and the men obtain paid more to just indicate up than we obtain paid to win major championships.

We tried to have meaningful conversations with U. S. Soccer. We tried to meet with them on numerous occasions. We tried to be logical. And we were continuously told the same thing -- that they'd allocated a certain quantity of money for us and it wasn't going to go up.

Bringing on a grand team of lawyers with a grand background in sports was really enormous for us. That was the first step. That gave us direction in how to move forward in spearheading a fight against gender inequality within the U. S. Soccer Federation. Since then it's all arrive together really quickly. That said, what we filed in the complaint is nothing new.

And it didn't have to go down this route. That'south the thing. We presented the facts to them first. Before we went public, before we filed a complaint. And they refused to look the facts.

Actually, the whole team agreed on the complaint. The five of us were voted on by the team to deal the [collective bargaining agreement] CBA, so it kind of made sense that we were the five listed on the complaint.

Equality.

Respect.

Equal pay.

The dream is, of course, equality, but also to give more opportunities to younger girls. We've had generations of women in sports fighting for gender equality. This is continuing that fight. It'south for the girls who are going to eventually get our spots on this team. Hopefully they won't have to fight as tough as we are. And hopefully we'll contribute to a culture that pushes us toward true equality.

We were talking latest night at dinner about how it's been nearly portion of our mindset, not just as athletes on this team, but as women, to accept less. We've been brainwashed as women to not stand up for equal pay with men. It'south not just in sports, it'south in every workforce for all women. We're trying to modify the mindset. To shift the thinking. And that's something that's incredibly challenging to do. It'south a fight that I don't think we're going to be able to stop fighting.

Over the course of the latest eight months, after winning the World Cup, we've had so many female athletes from other sports, as well as celebrities, actresses, women from all walks of life, arrive up to us at events. We've all felt that sense of community, particularly around the wage gap.

I, personally, have been inspired by Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lawrence and Venus and Serena Williams. I've also seen Billie Jean King putting so much effort into women'south soccer and tackling our gender inequality as she did with tennis. There has already been so much support for us. But I think through this complaint, we're going to look even more.

What motivates me the most is the injustice of it. There'south number justification to not be paid the same as the men. We do everything the men do. We're marketable. We're popular. We're a revenue-generating team. There is nothing we don't do for this federation, so we should absolutely obtain paid the same as the men do.

I perceive love it's been a long fight, always trying to prove my worth as a woman. I've experienced it throughout my life. But along the lines of what Becky was saying, U. S. Soccer can't justify their actions. So for me, this is about principle. And I believe in principle. A lot of times that doesn't create me very popular. But I've always stayed true to myself and this is a very necessary principle to me, women's equality.

Another thing, is that very few women have the platform we've to be heard. We've been given a stage to inspire youthful girls around the world and with that comes the responsibility to continue to thrust along gender equality and create more and better opportunities for women. We necessity to keep each other accountable. For me, I perceive love this is our duty.

There is always something. Every World Cup, every Olympics. There'south Zika in Brazil! We all have personal lives. We all have challenges, relationships. There is always something happening that you've to power through to create sure you present yourself the best way possible on the field. This action is number different. It's our responsibility as professional athletes to leave it behind when we step out onto the field.

And I don't think we've a tough time doing that.

No. We're one hundred % committed to the success of this team. The same as we were before the complaint went out.

We know the investigation with the EEOC will get up to six months. We aren't naïve about how long this might get to resolve, but we're hopeful to hear something by then.

Absolutely for me it is.

One hundred percent.

This is the heritage we wish to leave behind. Aside from being a successful team, we wish to be an impactful team. We wish to create a difference.

[Heavy sighs all around]

For the 16 years I've been on the team, I've gotten the "go along, obtain along" message.

That'south the all mindset we necessity to battle.

That we as women should "appreciate" what we've been given, even if it'south less than what we are worth.

I'll say, from the people we're surrounded by, the coaching staff, people on the team environment, we don't obtain any negative comments. Number one tells us to step down or be grateful for what we have. We hold a tight-knit group, and we focus on contributing on the field. Though, I'll admit, it isn't always easy.

Maybe. But I perceive love it's necessary to shift the times. To modify history. And I really perceive love that'south what we're doing here. As Becky said, we're on the right side of history. You see back. Women used to not be allowed to vote. There are so many things that are shocking in our past. And I think one day we'll see back and think it's shocking that women didn't earn as much as men. We're going to see back and wonder, why did we cost women so much less?

We're able to get on this battle because we've that mentality. We've never given up on anything. We fight through every adversity we have. So it shouldn't be a astonishment that we're willing to fight this issue until we've exhausted every single avenue, and at minimum attempted every available option for us to create a difference. We're always going to hold fighting. That's what makes this team so great.

First stop, women'south soccer. Following stop, the world!

[Everyone laughs]

Honestly though, you continue to fight when you believe strongly in something. And each and every one of us believes strongly in our cause. And that trust is what keeps us going every single day. We're not there yet, but eventually society will realize women are equal to men.

[More laughing]

I don't think anyone would vote for us.

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