The United States Soccer Federation president resigned Thursday, a day after the U.S. women’s soccer team protested its parent organization.
USSF president Carlos Cordeiro tweeted a statement Thursday evening, announcing that he was stepping away immediately.
“It has been an incredible privilege to serve our Federation for the past 13 years as a volunteer,” Cordeiro said, noting that former vice president Cindy Parlow Cone will take over as president. “I’m proud of the progress that we have made together over the past two years.
“My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our Federation, and it has become clear to me that what is best right now is a new direction.”
Cordeiro’s resignation came a day after the U.S. women’s national team players wore their warm-up jerseys inside out prior to winning the SheBelieves Cup with Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Japan. According to The Associated Press, the protest was a statement on the debate over the team’s 2019 gender discrimination lawsuit against the USSF, which is scheduled to go to trial on May 5.
“We just decided today as a group, and everybody was on board with it,” United States forward Carli Lloyd said. “I think it just was a powerful message, without having to really send a message. I’m really proud of this group because this is not an easy thing. Like I said, I don’t want to be in this position, but we’re here and it’s just got to be better.”
The 28 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit accusing the USSF of gender discrimination and low pay compared to the U.S. men’s soccer team. The USSF has pushed back, alleging that they offered equal pay and that they can’t be expected to make up the prize money gap that exists within FIFA.
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The USSF ramped up the ill will with Monday’s court filing, which said that the U.S. men’s soccer team has “more responsibility” and a “higher level of skill” than their counterparts on the women’s team.
“A reasonable juror could conclude that the job MNT player requires materially different skill and more responsibility than Plaintiff’s job does, while also taking place under materially different working conditions,” the filing said, according to CNN.
USSF president Carlos Cordeiro issued an apology on Wednesday, according to the AP.
“On behalf of U.S. Soccer, I sincerely apologize for the offense and pain caused by language in this week’s court filing, which did not reflect the values of our federation or our tremendous admiration of our women’s national team,” Cordeiro’s statement said of the four-time World Cup champion U.S. women’s team. “Our WNT players are incredibly talented and work tirelessly, as they have demonstrated time and again from their Olympic gold medals to their World Cup titles.”
Cordeiro also addressed the comments regarding skill during his resignation letter.
“The arguments and language contained in this week’s legal filing caused great offense and pain, especially to our extraordinary Women’s National Team players who deserve better,” Cordeiro said. “It was unacceptable and inexcusable. I did not have the opportunity to fully review the filing in its entirety before it was submitted, and I take responsibility for not doing so. Had I done so, I would have objected to language that did not reflect my personal admiration for our women’s players or our values as an organization.”