US women's team players have options after setback in court

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FILE - In this July 7, 2019, file photo, United States' Megan Rapinoe, left, talks to her teammate Alex Morgan, right, after winning the Women's World Cup final soccer match against Netherlands at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France. Players for the U.S. womens national team may have been dealt a blow by a judges ruling in their gender discrimination case against U.S. Soccer, but the case is far from over. On Friday a federal judge threw out the players' unequal pay in a surprising loss for the defending World Cup champions. But the judge allowed aspects of their allegations of discriminatory working conditions to go to trial. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

Players for the U.S. women’s national team may have been dealt a blow by a judge’s ruling in their gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation but the case is far from over.

The women have vowed to keep up the fight, encouraged by the likes of Joe Biden, Billie Jean King and even the men's national team.

“This is just a setback,” King said when asked what she would tell the team. “There’s so many of these ups and downs. Just keep learning from it, keep going for it. You’re still such a great influence, not only in soccer, but for equality for everyone.”

King, who was calling for equitable prize money in tennis in the 1970s, once famously proclaimed: “Everyone thinks women should be thrilled when we get crumbs, and I want women to have the cake, the icing and the cherry on top, too.”

The players sued the federation last year, claiming they have not been paid equally under their collective bargaining agreement to what the men’s national team receives under its labor deal. They asked for more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The federal judge threw out the players' claim of discriminatory pay Friday in a surprising loss for the defending World Cup champions. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner said the women rejected a pay-to-play structure like the men's agreement and accepted greater base salaries and benefits.

But he allowed aspects of their allegations of discriminatory working conditions to go forward.

The trial remains scheduled for June 16 in federal court in Los Angeles.