City Plans to Honor 1999 National Women's Soccer Team Rose Bowl Victory as Current, Past Team Players Sue Soccer Federation

Published : Monday, March 11, 2019 | 5:07 AM

The Pasadena City Council is expected to approve tonight the installation near the Rose Bowl of a statue commemorating the historic 1999 Women’s World Cup which saw Team USA beat China on a thrilling penalty shootout.

Monday’s deliberation on the statue will come just days after some current and past U.S. Women’s National Team players sued the United States Soccer Federation for gender discrimination in a long-running dispute over equal pay and equal conditions with the Men’s team.

The commemorative statue would be installed in the northwest corner of Area H near the stadium.

Few in the Rose Bowl for the match will forget the moment the U.S. women’s team scored. With over 90,000 watching, it reportedly remains the best-attended women’s sports event in history.

The 1999 Women’s World Cup also remains the only Women’s World Cup tournament in which the host nation has won.

The proposal calls for a colorful unveiling ceremony before the historic match’s 20th anniversary on July 10, according to the Rose Bowl Operating Company (RBOC), which is set to present the complete plans to the Council Monday evening.

Last Friday, the same U.S. women’s soccer team, albeit with new members, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation to demand equal pay. The team filed the lawsuit as they prepared for their title defense at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the lawsuit accused the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) of years of “institutionalized gender discrimination” which the team’s members say have affected not only their wages, but also how they played, their traveling conditions, and the medical treatment and coaching they received.

Some team members say the discrimination has impacted nearly every aspect of their work conditions.

“The USSF discriminates against Plaintiffs, and the class that they seek to represent, by paying them less than members of the MNT (men’s national team) for substantially equal work and by denying them at least equal playing, training, and travel conditions; equal promotion of their games; equal support and development for their games; and other terms and conditions of employment equal to the MNT,” the team said in the lawsuit, which was signed by all 28 members.

The team and the soccer federation reached an agreement in April 2017 on a five-year collective bargaining agreement, but the complaint continued to be outstanding. With no progress at the EEOC, the players decided to file their lawsuit on International Women’s Day.

In the proposal that the Pasadena City Council will consider Monday, the RBOC indicated the Rose Bowl Legacy Connections, the non-profit organization that supports the protection, preservation and enhancement of the Rose Bowl Stadium, have secured “philanthropic gifts and pledges” that will support the installation of the commemorative statue for the 1999 Team USA Women’s World Cup Champions.

The installation will also continue the commemoration of the near-century of heritage and diversity at the Rose Bowl Stadium, which will celebrate its Centennial birthday in 2022.

Once installed, the 1999 Team USA statue will be a historical marker that “transcends and celebrates an important moment in Rose Bowl history.”

“It was arguably the most pivotal moment for female athletics in the history of the United States, along with Title IX, and undoubtedly inspired a global generation of young female athletes to strive for equality and greatness,” the RBOC said in an Agenda Report for Monday’s City Council meeting. “The victory, watched live by a world women’s sporting event record attendance of 90,185 fans including former President Bill Clinton, and by more than 18 million viewers worldwide on television, inspired a new generation of women athletes not only in soccer, but in a host of other sports as well.”

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