Megan Rapinoe: “To see that blatant misogyny and sexism as the argument used against us is really disappointing.” (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis Editor

In wake of comments filed in a lawsuit with the U.S. women’s national team, harsh criticism continued to pile up on U.S. Soccer.

Among the critical responses included comments from U.S. Soccer vice president Cindy Cone, a member of the 1999 Women’s World Cup championship team and Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, who commented on Thursday and USWNT forward Megan Rapinoe, who spoke her mind late Wednesday night.

In papers filed this week, the federation argued that playing for the men’s national team carries more responsibility and requires a higher level of skill than that demanded of women players.

The federation was responding to the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the USWNT against the federation in March 2019. The suit demands $66 million in back pay under the Equal Pay act and the Civil Rights Act.

“I am hurt and saddened by the brief USSF filed,” Cone said on Twitter. “This issue means so much to me, but more broadly to all men & women and, more importantly, to little girls & boys who are our future. I disavow the troubling statements and will continue to work to forge a better path forward.”

MLS sent out an email with Garber’s comments. Garber is one of the two Pro Council represenatives on the U.S. Soccer board of directors.

“When I saw the media reports of U.S. Soccer’s recent filing, I was shocked and angry,” Garber said in a statement. “I expressed to the President of the Federation in no uncertain terms how unacceptable and offensive I found the statements in that filing to be.

“Those statements do not reflect my personal view, nor do they reflect the views of the Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing families. I intend to immediately address this issue with the U.S. Soccer board of directors.”

After the Americans’ 3-1 win over Japan in Frisco, Texas that clinched the SheBelieves Cup title, Rapinoe had her say.

“To see that blatant misogyny and sexism as the argument used against us is really disappointing,” midfielder Megan Rapinoe told reporters. “I know that we’re in a contentious fight but that crossed a line completely.”

U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro apologized for the comments made in the papers, although U.S. Soccer sponsors Coca Cola, Visa, Budweiser and Deloitte have been critical of the federation.

On late Thursday afternoon, another sponsor, Volkswagen, said it was “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,” the company said on Twitter. “We stand by the USWNT and the ideals they represent for the world. We demand that U.S. Soccer rise up to these values.”