Cindy Parlow Cone of Memphis, TN made history on Friday by becoming the first female president of the United States Soccer Federation. According to Scott Neuman of National Public Radio, Parlow Cone is taking over from Carlos Codeiro of Mumbai, India, who has held the position as president since 2018.
Parlow Cone won a gold medal for the United States in women’s soccer at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. She was also part of the American team that won the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the United States.
There is no doubt that there has been massive controversy surrounding United States Soccer in recent weeks. On February 27, the United States National Women’s Soccer Team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the USSF. In seeking $66 million worth of damages in back pay, the women’s team is arguing for equal pay between genders according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
The USSF got into further trouble on Monday when a document was released in reaction to the lawsuit. The piece according to the NPR stated that “women ‘do not perform equal work requiring equal skill [and] effort’ while the ability of players on the senior men’s national team, it said, was ‘materially influenced by the level of certain physical attributes such as speed and strength.'”
According to Paul Cassell of the Volokh Conspiracy, the USSF’s reaction to the lawsuit was however “terrible”. He states the USSF has argued that a national women’s team member “does not require equal ‘skill’ and ‘responsibility'” as well compared to their male counterparts.
It should be noted that Codeiro admitted he did not read the document before it was made public according to Neuman. However, it definitely put the former USSF president in a negative light and changes at the top were required. Codeiro apologized, but his apology was not enough at this time to avoid the backlash.
According to Abigail Hess of CNBC, the United States National Women’s Soccer Team players earn less than the United States National Men’s Soccer Team for 20 non-tournament games that each team is expected to play. If each national team won all 20 games, the United States National Women’s Team would earn $99,000, and the United States National Men’s Team would earn $263,320. The United States National Women’s Soccer Team also argues that each female player only made $15,000 for making the team from 2013 to 2016, while each male player made $55,000 in 2014 and $68,750 in 2018.
There are reports that the United States National Men’s Soccer Team earned less than United States National Women’s Soccer Team over the last decade. In fact according to the Associated Press, the United States National Women’s Soccer Team made $34.1 million in total salary between 2010 to 2018, while the United States National Men’s Soccer Team only made $26.4 million during that period.
However one must realize that the United States National Men’s Soccer Team did not qualify for the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Russia and had significantly less success on the pitch. In that time frame, the United States Women’s National Women’s Soccer Team finished second to Japan at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany and won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.