United States Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro announced his resignation Thursday evening amid intense backlash to a legal filing in the U.S. Women's National Team's ongoing gender discrimination lawsuit against the federation.
U.S. Soccer vice president Cindy Parlow Cone will serve as president.
"My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our Federation, and it has become clear to me that what is best right now is a new direction," a statement from Cordeiro reads in part. "The arguments and language in this week's legal filing caused great offense and pain, especially to our extraordinary women's national team players who deserve better. It was unacceptable and inexcusable."
The court filing - which Cordeiro says he "did not have the opportunity to fully review" - argued that members of the U.S. Men's National Team face more hostility and require greater skill than their female counterparts. Had Cordeiro seen the filing before submission, he "would have objected to language that did not reflect my personal admiration for out women's players or out values as an organization," he claims.
Outcry against the USSF was swift. National team star Megan Rapinoe condemned the argument "as blatant misogyny and sexism." Meanwhile, major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said he "expressed to (Cordeiro) in no uncertain terms how unacceptable and offensive I found the statements" to be, and major U.S. Soccer sponsor Coca-Cola called the comments "unacceptable and offensive."
The U.S. women's team filed its suit against the USSF in March 2019, prior to capturing the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. The team claims that "institutionalized gender discrimination" has led to gender-based pay disparities, according to ESPN. The suit is expected to go to trial on May 5.
Cordeiro hopes the claimants are treated better as the lawsuit progresses.
"As US Soccer moves ahead with its defense against the lawsuit by the team, I hope that our remarkable women's players are always treated with the dignity, respect, and admiration that they truly deserve," Cordeiro wrote.