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Local players support USWNT in wage complaint

Posted at 12:14 AM, Apr 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-04 03:14:34-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Five of the most prominent women's soccer players in the United States filed a federal complaint against U.S. Soccer for wage discrimination last week. Local players and coaches are in full support.

Media reports show the women make significantly less money at the national level than the mens players. For example, a player on the women's national team will make just under $1,300 for playing in a friendly match and winning, they receive nothing for a loss or tie. On the men's side, they will receive as much as $5,000 in a loss or tie and more than $17,000 for a win in against a high-profile opponent.

"Equal pay for equal play," said Amy Garelich, the head women's coach for FC Tucson.

As a coach and former player, Garelich says it's about time.

"It's not just five players that are unhappy because they can't make a living, they have a very valid reason for asking for this," she said.

Comparing sides, the women's team is far more successful than the men. They have won three World Cup titles, while the men have not won any.

Some would also argue that the women's team is more successful in the United States, especially after their most recent World Cup win.

"I didn't know the difference could be so huge," said Avadney Gerard about the difference in pay.

Gerard plays soccer in Tucson and will play college soccer in New Mexico next year. She has dreams to play professionally.

"As I got older I realized it's really hard to get to that point," she said.

Garelich says many players often give up their professional aspirations in favor of something else. At the highest level only a handful of women can make a living off professional soccer.

"They get their college education for another route," said Garelich.

"Because of the pay they can't make it," said Gerard.