Carlos Cordeiro said U.S. Soccer will "continue to work with and listen" to USWNT in their fight for pay equity.
U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro issued a statement on Friday in response to a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. women's national team over pay equity and working conditions.
In an open letter, Cordeiro wrote that U.S. Soccer was "surprised" by the complaint filed in federal court, as members of the USWNT had reached a collective bargaining agreement with the soccer federation in April of 2017.
"At no point since that time have players raised concerns about the CBA itself, and we continue to work with them in good faith," Cordeiro wrote. "U.S. Soccer has partnered with the USWNT in a sincere effort to listen, provide the very best resources possible to the team and its staff, and advance the women's game on the field and in the marketplace."
According to court documents, all 28 members of the USWNT world championship team accused U.S. Soccer of years of "institutionalized gender discrimination," highlighting not just pay but also issues like medical treatment and transportation.
The players also argued that, despite current U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro previously admitting that "our women's teams should be respected and valued as much as our men's teams," the federation "has paid only lip service to gender equality and continues to practice gender-based discrimination against its champion female employees on the WNT in comparison to its less successful male employees on the MNT."
The players are requesting an award that would provide for liquidated and punitive damages and "all other appropriate relief."
Despite their surprise, Cordeiro said he believed "it was imperative to reach out to team leaders to better understand their thoughts and concerns."
"While we believe the current agreement is fair and equitable, we are committed to working with our USWNT players and understanding specifically where they believe improvement is needed," he said. "We are looking forward to additional meetings with the players in the near future so we may learn more about their objectives while they, in turn, can hear from us. Our mutual goal is a dialogue that will serve the best interests of the USWNT and U.S. Soccer, so that our collective focus is where it should be – winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup at a time when our team and soccer in the U.S. has so much to gain and celebrate."
Cordeiro said U.S. Soccer is waiting to hear back from the USWNT on the best time to meet to further discuss the lawsuit.
The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in France on June 7.