A Win for Athletes’ Rights: Panel Rules U.S. Soccer in Violation of Federal Law

By | 2019-05-31T06:52:55+00:00 31 May 2019|Blog, News|9 Comments

Yesterday, we had a huge legal win. A panel of three independent arbitrators ruled unanimously that U.S. Soccer is in violation of Federal Law under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. This is a massive first step in holding U.S. Soccer accountable and protecting athletes’ rights.


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PLEASE READ/WATCH: Yesterday, we had a huge legal win. A panel of three AAA arbitrators ruled that @ussoccer is in violation of Federal Law under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act and @teamusa bylaws. This is a massive first step in holding U.S. Soccer accountable and protecting athletes’ rights. It’s crazy that we even have to wage legal battles in order to force our national governing body to simply abide by the law. But we do. And it’s a long road. Nothing happens overnight and there are times you question whether anything will ever really change. Then you get news like this and you know it’s worth it, know change is possible, and know more than ever, that you need to stay the course. This is only a first step, but it’s a big one. And it’s a win for everybody who loves this sport. Power to the People ✊🏼 Link to more details and the full history of this fight in my bio.

A post shared by Hope Solo (@hopesolo) on


Eighteen months ago, I filed a complaint against U.S. Soccer with the USOC. The reason was simple: U. S. Soccer was breaking federal law under the Ted Stevens Act. It was failing to live up to its responsibilities as the sport’s national governing body – not just for the Women’s National Team and our fight for equality, but for families across the country who can’t afford for their kids to play, the underserved communities who don’t have the same opportunities, the unsupported Paralympic and deaf athletes, and everyone else in between.

What did the USOC do? Nothing. They dismissed it. They told me I needed to file a complaint with the very organization I was making a complaint against, one that has time and time again, refused to do right by its athletes. Worse, U.S. Soccer’s process for dealing with complaints looks like this: athlete files complaint, U.S. Soccer hand picks a single arbitrator to hear the complaint. It doesn’t take much to see the athlete has little chance of succeeding. Not only is the process a joke, it’s against the law.

The Stevens Act requires that all decision-making bodies, including Grievance panels, have 20% athlete representation. U.S. Soccer, in a blatant violation of Federal law, quietly changed its bylaws about 10 years ago to bypass the 20% athlete representation requirement. I am also certain that 99% of our USSF athletes are not aware this right was stripped of them years ago.

The USOC’s decision to dismiss the complaint made no sense. The USOC is duty bound to protect the rights of athletes and in this case, they looked the other way. I responded by filing a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. (A full copy of the filing can be found here.) I asked the AAA panel to determine that the USOC made a mistake — that they had a responsibility to hear my complaint and evaluate the merits of the issues. The panel’s ruling now forces the USOC to do that. This is a massive first step in holding U.S. Soccer accountable and protecting athletes’ rights.


  1. s. lopez May 31, 2019 at 5:42 am - Reply

    buenas noche solo hope, saludos desde el salvador

  2. Olivya Brodie May 31, 2019 at 6:02 am - Reply

    You rock! Enough is enough. Woman not matter color, size, race, should be held back and treated the way many are and everything is to be kept hush hush. Being a young female, I have 20 original songs out and I don’t say this for recognition because at 13/14/15 every show and label wanted me to give up rights to my creativity and to let them mold me into whatever they wanted me to be to make the money they saw they could. I have too chosen to say enough is enough and stand up for girls that are younger than me aspiring to be artists in the world. I don’t think I need to give up anything that I have created for the fame of it. If you look at too many young artists and athletes that sign these contracts so many times when they can’t make money from you after you lull yourself for them you are a burden and left with nothing. I hate that we have focused more on money and less on human life. What’s right should always win. There is enough money often and yet people always need more. I’m proud of you as a 4/5 year old soccer player that didn’t know if I’d love soccer or volleyball more and played hard for years. That drive turned my music into a fighting force. I gave up volleyball after my team was told not to pay attention to “hyperventilating Nancy” as I limped off the court. No one knew I had a broken knee cap. In that moment I realized no matter how hard I ever worked the need for you is conditional. It’s not a way to raise young girls, it’s not okey to overlook it, and it’s not a way any person, athlete, race should be treated. To continue down that road is such an unhealthy way for all the women who have fought for some rights. It’s obvious we still have a long road. I am just so thoroughly appreciative that you took the time and money to pursue this for those who can’t. Our job is to look out for the weak and the poor. Good job Hope Solo! I wrote a song Mr Knew He could I hope u will one day check out! It’s all about me Knew He coulds. Times up! There’s strong women out there fighting and you’re one. Love Liv V

  3. Alex May 31, 2019 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Wooohoooo!!!! Thank you for not settling! ❤️

  4. Keri May 31, 2019 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Yes Hope! This is awesome! The wheels of justice turn slow. Keep fighting! Thank you for bringing all this to light.

  5. Ken Perry May 31, 2019 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Thank you Hope! You’re Awesome!

  6. Michael Saunders May 31, 2019 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Well done Hope. You fought for what was right at the risk of losing your “job” as the GK for National Team. They found a way to do so for the most bogus of reasons.

    Indeed, one day you will be voted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame for being the greatest female GK of all time. Yet twenty years from now you will be recognized for what you accomplished and the sacrifices you made for women athletes around the world. And that will never be forgotten.

    Good luck and God speed!

  7. ORA MOOSE May 31, 2019 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    You may be Solo, but you are not alone

  8. Al Olvera May 31, 2019 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    There are so many soccer leagues popping up all over the US with new paid coaches and trainers and you really have to come up with a large sum of money for your kids to play in those leagues. The cost for a kid to play high level soccer is getting ridiculous.

  9. Erica Wang May 31, 2019 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you for fighting for all the marginalized who deserve to play the same game fairly!

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