Five prominent members of the World Cup champion U.S. women's national soccer team filed a federal complaint charging the United States Soccer Federation with wage discrimination, the players' lawyer said.
The athletes, including star players Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo, charged that the women's team is the driving economic force for U.S. Soccer, though its members are paid less than their male counterparts, lawyer Jeffrey Kessler told Reuters on Thursday.
In the complaint, the players ask for an investigation of the federation and argue that they earn as little as 40 percent of what players on the U.S. men's team earned, according to Kessler.
The women's team also took the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics.
U.S. Soccer, the governing body of all forms of soccer in the United States, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Megan Rapinoe are also parties to the complaint, which was filed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Kessler said.
The five players are acting on behalf of the entire women's team, Kessler said.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Megan Cassella and Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Fiona Ortiz)