U.S. Women’s Soccer Players Could Boycott 2016 Olympics Amid CBA Dispute, Lawsuits

Something has to give, or else the United States women’s national soccer team might relinquish its crown without taking a single step on the field.

Becky Sauerbrunn told ESPN on Sunday that leading players will consider boycotting the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, if negotiations between the U.S. Soccer Federation and players over a new collective bargaining agreement aren’t progressing sufficiently.

The veteran defender said the strike option remains “on the table,” as the high-stakes talks inch toward a boiling point.

Sauerbrunn’s revelation comes less than two weeks after she and four other players filed a complaint against U.S. Soccer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the federation of wage discrimination. This action came in the aftermath of U.S. Soccer’s decision to sue them a month earlier over the status of the collective bargaining agreement.

The sagas of the dueling lawsuits threaten to disrupt Team USA’s dominance of women’s soccer at a potentially historic moment. The United States is in position to become the first reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup victor to win an Olympic gold medal the following year, and labor disputes likely will disrupt its preparations for the games, which kick off in August.

It would be a spectacular achievement … for the players and federation to sort out the labor strife in time to chase history.

Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports

Thumbnail photo via Apr 6, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; United States of America midfielder Allie Long (23) celebrates a goal against Colombia during the second half at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

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