Winning back-to-back World Cups wasn’t enough for the U.S. women’s soccer team — they’re also winning over some fans with their politics.
The U.S. Women’s Soccer team played hard to win their fourth title, despite drama and controversy, making them the most successful team in the tournament’s history.
As they began to advance into the finals, Megan Rapinoe was asked if she would visit the White House if they won. The answer was clear: no.
More than just being soccer stars, starters Rapinoe, Crystal Dunn, Abby Dahlkemper and Rose Lavelle all majored in sociology — which may have contributed to their political outspokenness.
According to a clip released by Now This on Twitter, Rapinoe was vocal about why the team decided against visiting, and it wasn’t because of the fast food.
“We’ve said publicly — at least I’ve said publicly — I think most of the team, if not everybody, I think everybody is with me. We don’t want to go to the White House. So I figure that’s why the invitation hasn’t come,” Rapinoe said.
Rapinoe spoke on the issue at a press conference last Thursday.
"I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with the exception of the expletive," she said. "My mom will be very upset about that."
President Trump reacted to her comments on Twitter.
“Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House, or our flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team,” Trump tweeted.
The House Democrats invited the team to visit them instead. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to her colleagues earlier this week that because of popular demand, she chose to invite the players to celebrate.
Alex Morgan was a key player in the tournament with six goals. Morgan told CBS the team hasn’t discussed the invite yet.
"Of course, it would be great to do something as a team together like that, but we haven't even had time to talk about that," she said.
The issues the team faces are larger than just their views on the president. The team is paid less than the U.S. men’s soccer team, resulting in a class action lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation.
According to CNBC and reports audited by the Wall Street Journal, the team is now generating more revenue than men’s soccer, sparking more controversy in the debate. Three years ago, women generated $1.9 million more than men, and in 2018, the revenue spiked to $50.8 million — $0.9 million more than men’s games.
David Neal, Fox’s Vice President of Production and Executive Producer of FIFA World Cup, made comments about the issue to the Wallstreet Journal.
“I don’t know how you quantify that,” Neal said. “But right now the shining star of U.S. soccer is the U.S. women’s national team. These women are heroes, and I think that carries great value.”
According to CNBC, the men’s team released a statement of support for the women’s team.
“An equal division of revenue attributable to the MNT and WNT programs is our primary pursuit as we engage with the U.S. Soccer Federation in collective bargaining,” the statement read.
Fans are also in support of the team. When they won, the stadium chanted for “equal pay.”
The team filed the lawsuit in March, but it will take time for it to work through the courts.
Until then, fans have taken to Twitter with the hashtags #USWNT, #EQUALPAY, #PAYTHEM and more.