The increasingly bitter dispute between American women's national soccer team and the U.S. Soccer Federation spilled onto the field Wednesday night when players wore their warm-up jerseys inside out in a protest during the national anthem before their 3-1 victory over Japan at the invitational SheBelieves Cup in Frisco.
By wearing jerseys inside out, players hid the USSF crest on the jerseys.
Players filed a gender discrimination suit against the USSF, alleging pay discrimination and violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. women are seeking more than $66 million in damages. The case is scheduled for trial starting May 5 in federal court in Los Angeles.
Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation apologized to the women's team after a backlash against statements in court documents this week that said members of the men's national team possess greater skill and have more demanding jobs than their female counterparts. Cordeiro also announced a shake-up of the USSF legal team.
The statement from USSF president Carlos Cordeiro came hours after The Coca-Cola Co., one of the sport's largest sponsors, denounced the federation for its stance.
The USSF's legal papers had said the men had a "higher level of skill based on speed and strength" and "more responsibility." They also said the men face more hostile crowds in Mexico and Central America, which makes playing for the U.S. men's team a different job than competing for the American women.
A spokeswoman for the women responded by saying the claims are from “the Paleolithic Era” as if “made by a caveman.”
Should they win at the 2020 Olympics this summer, it will make four out of the last five Olympics where the U.S. Women's team has won gold.