Hope Solo files to join USWNT equal-pay case, believes former teammates will 'surrender' to 'fear tactics'

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In the wake of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s World Cup victory, former goalkeeper Hope Solo is looking to join the team’s case for equal pay.

As with most things Solo, she’s not being shy about it.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Solo has filed a motion to be included in the USWNT’s mediation with the U.S. Soccer Federation over its lawsuit demanding pay commensurate with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

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Solo has her own pending equal-pay lawsuit against the USSF that she filed last August.

Solo concerned USWNT will ‘surrender’

According to the filing accessed by WSJ, Solo is concerned that the fact that the plaintiffs have agreed to mediation signals a willingness to compromise their position.

She believes that her voice is necessary to prevent the USWNT from backing down.

The motion filed filed Monday in the Northern District of California claims that in the last set of collective bargaining negotiations, the USWNT “backed down, kept their jobs, took the unequal compensation, and forfeited the prospects for Equal Pay.

“Thus, given the USWNT’s history, agreeing to mediation is a clear indication that the Team is poised to, once again, accede to the USSF’s intimidation and fear tactics, and ‘surrender’ on their demands for equal pay,” the motion reads.

Solo’s recent history with USWNT

Solo starred as the USWNT’s goaltender during its run to the 2015 World Cup championship. The USSF suspended Solo for her comments after a loss to Sweden in the 2016 Olympics, calling the Swedes “a bunch of cowards” for their defensive style of play in their victory.

Hope Solo believes that her voice is necessary for the USWNT to win its equal-pay fight. (Getty)
Hope Solo believes that her voice is necessary for the USWNT to win its equal-pay fight. (Getty)

Solo’s teammate Megan Rapinoe was critical of Solo at the time, saying she was “really disappointed" in her comments.

“Let's inspire, let's be badass, let's be fierce, let's be competitive,” Rapinoe said. “But we're gracious and we're humble, and we play the game a certain way, whether we win or lose.”

Solo blamed equal-pay fight for her dismissal

In June, Solo revisited the comments in a column for The Guardian and wrote that she apologized to Swedish captain Lotta Schelin.

She also wrote that she believed the true reason for her dismissal from the team was because of her role in the fight for equal pay.

“I have made no secret about the fact that I believe my termination was not about what happened in Rio at all, but about my fight for equal pay,” Solo wrote. “I had been a thorn in the Federation’s side for years and things had gotten worse leading up to and through the Games as negotiations for our collective bargaining agreement intensified. US Soccer realized it now had an excuse to remove its biggest adversary in the fight for equal pay, and it did.”

Solo had been part of a complaint filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016 seeking equal pay.

Now she’s looking to join the cause championed by the members of the current USWNT, which filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the USSF in March.

With the World Cup over and the team’s victory strengthening their case, the team’s fight for equal pay back in the spotlight.

Solo believes her independence is an asset

In her motion, Solo argues that her independence from the USSF puts her in an advantageous position, claiming that she is “free to persist and pursue their mutual Equal Pay objectives in the Mediation without fear of USSF retribution or retaliation. Accordingly, Solo should be allowed to fearlessly participate in the Mediation and or any settlement negotiations.”

A spokeswoman for the USWNT dismissed Solo’s concerns that the team would back down in mediation.

“This team has proved to the world they never give up,” Molly Levinson told WSJ. “They’re champions on and off the field.”

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