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'It was just the concept of paying us equally' - Rapinoe & Press explain why USWNT mediation talks broke down

3:54 am AEST 16/8/19
Megan Rapinoe Christen Press USWNT
The U.S. national team players took issue with the federation's stance on bonuses during this week's discussions in New York

U.S. women's national team stars Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press have said that U.S. Soccer's lack of interest in paying them equal bonuses as the men's team led to the breakdown of mediation talks between the two sides this week.

U.S. Soccer and the USWNT held mediation talks in New York this week but on Wednesday, a USWNT spokeswoman said that those talks had broken down.

The two sides were looking for a way to settle the USWNT's gender discrimination lawsuit out of court but after the talks produced no results, a trial appears more likely than ever. 

On Thursday, Rapinoe and Press went on ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today" to explain why mediation talks broke down. 

"I think, unfortunately, it was just the concept of paying us equally," Press said on NBC of where the talks fell apart. "We never even got past that.

"We were very hopeful in our discussions with them that they were going to take our proposals and our positions seriously, which is simply that every game that we play, we get compensated the same way a man would for playing or winning that game. And it broke down right there."

Achieving equal pay can be a difficult aim due to the difference in salary structures between the U.S. men and women's teams. The men are paid only in bonuses while the women receive a full salary and benefits from U.S. Soccer in addition to bonuses. 

Rapinoe reiterated the stance of her teammate, saying that the USWNT is looking for the bonuses for the women's team to be the same as the men's team.

"I think there's a little bit of room for the contracts to be different, our realities are different," Rapinoe said on NBC.

"But as Christen was saying, I think it's fair for us to ask that when we play a game, and we win that game or we tie that game or we lose that game that we should be paid the same as our male counterparts."

With no agreement in sight, the two sides appear likely to resolve their differences in court. On CBS, Press expressed her optimism that the USWNT would ultimately triumph. 

"We are very confident that if this needs to go to litigation that we have a great case," Press said.