Several members of a girls’ high school soccer team from Vermont were yellow carded during a recent match for displaying protest shirts emblazoned with “#EQUALPAY” that were inspired by the U.S. Women’s National Team.
According to ABC News, the entire girls’s soccer team from Burlington High School in Vermont approached their coach, Jeff Hayes, and asked for permission to wear a message promoting “equal pay” in honor of their heroines, the U.S. Women’s National Team.
They crafted white T-shirts with their protest message printed on the front, and the entire team — including the coaching staff — wore them under their uniforms.
When the team scored a late goal, several players took off their game jerseys, revealing the protest jerseys. The crowd started chanting, “Equal Pay,” according to ABC News. The players, however, were penalized with a yellow card and had to sit out for a few minutes of the game.
The game ended in a tie, but the girls on the team feel that hey succeeded by spreading their message. “It goes for everyone — every girl, every woman, the world,” player Helen Worden told ABC news.
The team apparently sold the shirts before the game, and have sold a total of over 700 of the shirts. According to ABC News, the team “invited” men to pay 16% for the shirts, which they say is the average pay gap between men and women in Vermont. Democratic Vermont Senator Pat Leahy posted a picture on Twitter of himself and his wife both wearing the shirts.
The ref who issued the yellow cards even apparently purchased one of the shirts for himself.
The USWNT is suing U.S. Soccer, claiming that they are underpaid relative to the men’s soccer team. U.S. Soccer, for their part, claims that the women are al ready compensated more than the men. In a statement released in July, the soccer federation said that the women’s team has been compensated a total of $34.1 million in salary and game bonuses compared to $26.4 million for the men. The federation also claims that the women have received other benefits — including 401(k) and health coverage — that the men have not.
The two sides attempted mediation in August, but negotiations broke down and both sides say that the matter is likely to be settled in court.