The federation filed a lawsuit against the women’s RS gold union seeking to clarify the length of the collective bargaining agreement, which it says is effective until December. The players’ union maintains it expired in February and retains its right to strike.
That leaves the team in uncertain territory heading into this summer’s Rio Olympics, where the Americans will try to win their fourth straight gold medal. While some retired players don’t think the U.S. team will strike, it’s not completely off the table.The EEOC filing is the latest salvo in what has been a long-simmering issue for the national team.Back in 1995, a group of high-profile players including Akers, Foudy, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Joy Fawcett were locked out of a pre-Olympic training camp by the USSF because of a disagreement over bonus pay.
The federation had offered a bonus only for the gold, the women wanted incremental pay for medals. The men were given bonuses per win. The dispute was quickly settled.It was especially emotional for Akers, who was among those working hard to bring women’s soccer to the Olympics.
The Americans won gold in the sport’s debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games.”When we played, we played because we loved it and because we wanted to kick ass and be the best in the world,” Akers said. “But we also played to grow the game, we did that intentionally. And we played to inspire people.”