President of U.S. Soccer Steps Down After Outcry Over Misogynistic Language in Court Documents

Carlos Cordeiro resigned as the president of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Thursday amid the turmoil of a lawsuit filed by the National Women's Team demanding equal pay. Court documents filed Monday by the U.S. Soccer Federation were roundly deemed as misogynistic, stating that members of the women's team did not have as much responsibility as the members of the men's team.

"It is undisputed that the job of [a Men's National Team] player requires materially more strength and speed than the job of [a Women's National Team] player," read the documents in part.

U.S. Soccer has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, in which the women's team is seeking $67 million.

Cordeiro apologized for the language used by U.S. Soccer Wednesday, saying the statements "did not reflect the values of our Federation or our tremendous admiration of our Women's National Team."

Roughly 24 hours later, Cordeiro issued a statement concerning his resignation in which he took responsibility for not properly reviewing the court filing.

"My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our Federation, and it has become clear to me that what is best right now is a new direction," Cordeiro wrote. "The arguments and language contained in this week's legal filing caused great offense and pain, especially to our extraordinary Women's National Team who deserve better. It was unacceptable and inexcusable."

"I did not have the opportunity to fully review the filing in its entirety before it was submitted, and I take responsibility for not doing so," Cordeiro continued. "Had I done so, I would have objected to language that did not reflect my personal admiration for our women's players or our values as an organization."

"As U.S. Soccer moves ahead with its defense against the lawsuit by the team, I hope that our remarkable women's players are always treated with the dignity, respect and admiration that they truly deserve," Cordeiro added.

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Soccer Federation for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro
U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro resigned Thursday amid furor over misogynistic language used in court documents filed by the organization. Ira L. Black/Corbis/Getty

U.S. National Women's Team (USWNT) member Megan Rapinoe called U.S. Soccer's rebuttal to the team's lawsuit "disappointing" in a post-game interview on Wednesday.

"We have felt that those are some of the undercurrent feelings they've had for a long time," Rapinoe said, "but to see that blatant misogyny and sexism as the argument against us is really disappointing. But I just want to say it's all false. To every girl out there, to every boy out there who watches this team, who wants to live their dream, you not lesser just because you are a girl. You are not better just because you are a boy."

Corporate sponsors of U.S. Soccer also rejected the language in the court filing, including Volkswagen USA which tweeted on Thursday, "We at Volkswagen of America are disgusted by positions taken by U.S. Soccer and they are simply unacceptable. We place great emphasis on gender inclusivity and equality and require our partners do the same. We stand by the USWNT and the ideals they represent for the world. We demand that U.S. Soccer rise up to these values."

Molly Levinson, spokesperson for the U.S. Women's National Team, told The Washington Post, "While it is gratifying that there has been such a deafening outcry against USSF's blatant misogyny, the sexist culture and policies overseen by Carlos Cordeiro have been approved for years by the board of directors of USSF. This institution must change and support and pay women equally."

Current U.S. Soccer Federation Vice President Cindy Parlow Cone will take Cordeiro's place as acting president of the organization, a move which gained the support of former USWNT player Julie Foudy.

"With US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro resigning, Cindy Parlow becomes Acting President," Foudy wrote. "I played with Cindy for many years. I know Cindy. She understands ALL the players are going through having lived it. And she is one hell of a human. Give her a chance to succeed. Please."

With US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro resigning, Cindy Parlow becomes Acting President. I played with Cindy for many years. I know Cindy. She understands ALL the players are going through having lived it. And she is one hell of a human. Give her a chance to succeed. Please.

— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) March 13, 2020