High School Girls Soccer Team Gets Yellow Cards After Equal Pay Protest

The Vermont teenagers said they were inspired by the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team to advocate for closing the gender pay gap.

A high school girls soccer team in Vermont tried to advocate for equal pay at a Friday game and managed to receive multiple yellow cards in the process.

After scoring their first goal of the night, several members of the Burlington High School girls team took off their blue uniforms to reveal custom white jerseys bearing the slogan #EQUALPAY, according to the Burlington Free Press.

Referees responded by issuing yellow cards for unsportsmanlike conduct to the four players who took off their uniform jerseys, instead of just lifting them up, as other players did. The league’s rules prohibit players from wearing uniforms bearing slogans during official games, though they can sport them during practices and off-field events, according to WPTZ-TV.

At the Burlington game, the crowd cheered and chanted “equal pay” when the girls revealed the jerseys, more than 500 of which the team had already sold as part of a fundraising campaign.

The team’s coach told Good Morning America that the girls were inspired by the World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, whose players are vocal advocates for closing the gender pay gap, specifically in professional soccer leagues.

“It’s appalling, and it’s ridiculous that that’s still a thing,” Burlington varsity soccer player Maggie Barlow told WPTZ-TV.

The team has sold the #EqualPay jerseys to other students, high school athletes and even Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and his wife. The Nike jerseys cost $25 — though male buyers were encouraged to pay 16% more to mark the average gender pay disparity in Vermont, according to the Free Press.

The school’s boys soccer team wore the jerseys in solidarity with the girls team at a recent game, but the Free Press reported that they managed to avoid yellow cards by lifting up their jerseys without taking them off.

The money raised from jersey sales will reportedly go toward diversifying girls’ youth soccer in Burlington.

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