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Persuasive Speech

Emma McFadden
Persuasive Speech: Audience Assessment

Specific Goal​: My audience will gain a new perspective about the pay gap/inequality in US
soccer--specifically between the men’s and women’s teams--and see why the US women’s
team needs to win the lawsuit they are pursuing right now.

Type of Claim: ​This is a claim of Policy.

Ethos: Primary Ethos:

a) Competence: ​I’ve followed US soccer for many years, but it wasn’t until recently that I
became more familiar with the athletes on the Women’s national team and became aware of the
lawsuit they’re filing against the USSF. I’ve followed news stories about this issue, and
researched more about the athlete’s stance on the whole thing. Now, I feel like I’m very familiar
with this current issue in women’s soccer, and with the upcoming Women’s World Cup, I’m
anxious to see how the lawsuit plays out.
b) ​Fairness​: My main goal is to cite examples about the inequality to prove there needs to be a
change, but to establish credibility on the topic, I need to address the other side as well. To do
this, I will research this story from the USSF’s point of view, or from the side of the Men’s
national team. It’s not a exactly contest between the two teams, but the inequality is shown
when you put the two teams next to each other. There are also news articles that question the
likelihood the women’s team winning the lawsuit, with the explanation that men’s sports receive
more support (and therefore funding) overall. Some sources say that it’s simply not realistic that
the women will win the lawsuit.
Secondary Ethos: ​I will cite 6-7 expert sources to prove my point.
Audience Assessment​: Most of my audience members will probably have an attitude toward
my proposition that is ……. Probably varied from favorable, neutral, or even unfavorable.

Adaptation to Audience Attitude:

Common ground​: To create common ground on this topic, I will present it in a way that makes
it seem more factual than attacking. Even though I’m passionate about the topic, there are
enough facts about it that I don’t need to bring in heavy emotion to prove there needs to be a
change. The common ground will also come from the audience’s attitude to the broader topic:
US sports. I can establish that common ground in the introduction. Anyone who can see that
there’s gender inequality in the sporting world can come to find common ground with my topic.
Latitude of acceptance: ​I think the audience will accept my claim because it is a real-life issue
that’s happening right now. The currency of the issue will help drive the claim home and make it
easier to accept. Also, it’s not a topic that deals with human values and beliefs (at least, not too
dramatically). My topic does deal a lot about gender inequality, but I think with my sources that
I’ll bring in, the audience will be able to see the facts of the issue.
Baby Steps:​ I knew I wanted to talk about the lawsuit in women’s soccer right now (the one that
deals with equal pay). My claim is pretty easy to follow: there’s inequality in United States
soccer; between the women’s and men’s teams. To narrow it down, I’ll talk about the pay gap
and the working conditions. By comparing the women and men’s teams throughout the speech,
it will be easy to see the different treatment they receive in the soccer world.

Pattern of Organization​: My organization will be the motivated sequence.

Persuasive Speech: Outline
Addressing the Pay Gap in Professional Soccer


I. ​Hook​: When my mom and her siblings were in high school, my grandma was closely involved
with school events. At one basketball game, she noticed an athlete who was doing homework in
between her plays on the court. My grandma asked the girl about the homework. “Do you really
need to be working so hard right now?” The girl explained, “I have to maintain a B average
across my classes if I want to stay on the team.” My uncle was on the swim team, so my
grandma knew that the boy’s teams at the school only needed a C average across their classes.
My grandma was furious. She wondered why she needed to hold her girls to a higher standard
than her boys. She brought this issue to the attention of the administration, but I know nothing
much has been done since then, because unequal treatment in sports is still happening today.
In fact, it’s unequal in a much bigger way.

II. ​Ethos​: I’ve had soccer in my household since I was a kid. Between my dad’s coaching career
and my time on various teams, I can’t remember soccer not being a part of my life. In 2014, my
family followed the FIFA World Cup with excitement. The next year, I fell in love with the
women’s national team. Since then, I’ve kept up with the women’s team more than the men’s.
My reasoning? The women win more.

III. ​Proposition​: However, you’ll soon know there’s a problem here. If I told you the team with
multiple gold medals and world titles was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the
team that frequently doesn’t even qualify for the World Cup, would you believe me?
The United States women’s national soccer is suing the United States Soccer Federation for
unequal treatment. If the team wins this lawsuit, it could bring promises of a very different future
for female athletes everywhere.
IV. ​Preview​: so, what does this lawsuit mean for professional soccer?
1. This lawsuit is current news. First, I’ll explain all the fine details of the situation.
2. Next, I’ll give examples of why the women’s team needed the lawsuit, and why it’s an
important step in gender equality in sports.
3. Lastly, I’ll address the other side of the issue and tell why the lawsuit is significant not
only in US soccer, but throughout the world.

Transition​: What’s the deal with the lawsuit?

In March of this year, the US women’s national soccer team filed a lawsuit against the USSF.
According to the official lawsuit documents, provided by the New York Times, the team’s
“collective action complaint” was over a violation of the Equal Pay Act and over a violation of of
title 7 in the civil rights act of 1964. In essence, the Women’s team are the plaintiffs and their
claim is equal pay and equal treatment to the men’s team. This fight has been going on for
years, and only now is their claim being heard and the lawsuit going through.
Megan Rapinoe is a player on the team, and this is what she had to say about it: “I think to
be on this team is to understand these issues, and I think we’ve always been a team that stood
up for itself and fought hard for what it felt it deserved and tried to leave the game in a better
The important thing to know about the US women’s soccer team is that they face, quote,
“institutionalized gender discrimination.” Right now, it’s the right thing for these athletes to be
standing up for they deserve.

Alex Morgan is a co-captain for the team, and in an interview for ESPN.com, she said, “Each
of us is extremely proud to wear the United States jersey, and we also take seriously the
responsibility that comes with that. We believe that fighting for gender equality in sports is a part
of that responsibility. As players, we deserved to be paid equally for our work, regardless of our
“Regardless of gender…” what does that mean for this team? The lawsuit isn’t just about getting
paid more, it’s about equality. To give you an idea of why this matters in the first place, let’s take
a look at the winning records of both the men and women’s teams: since 1991, the women’s
national team has won 4 Olympic gold medals and 3 FIFA world titles. As for the men, their
“best result” in a World Cup was 3rd place… in 1930. To illustrate this further, I’ll have you
remember that there was a World Cup last summer. I’d forgotten about it. Why? Maybe because
my country’s professional men’s team didn’t even qualify for the event. In the world of
professional soccer, athletes get paid for qualifying for World Cup and other championships,
and for doing well. According to this chart provided by PBS, the team that is historically better
has not been paid the same as their male counterparts. The difference is a matter of millions of
dollars. Like Alex Morgan said, professional teams have a responsibility to perform well, but it’s
only fair they get rewarded in equal proportions across the board.
However, If you look at this issue from a global standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense. The
idea of “women in sports” is still radical in many countries. There are thousands of female
athletes who are just happy for a chance to play—let alone get paid for it. Sure, the women win
more World Cups, but is fair that the US has better resources for the athletes in the first place?
Women’s soccer is already huge in the US—bigger than anywhere else. These women get
enough pay, don’t they? Well, let’s go back to what Megan Rapinoe said: she and her
teammates want to leave soccer better than they found it. This lawsuit—this movement—is a
major step for realizing that goal. If one nation fixes gender inequality in sports, what’s to stop
another? Alex Morgan was interviewed for CBS, and she claimed this “bold” stand for equality
went beyond getting paid the same as the men, it’s also a worldwide statement of power and
*cite examples of other sports in US where the pay gap is an issue, and expand on that as a
final counter argument to the counter argument.
This issue is bigger than it may appear. A professional team (a successful one) does not
receive the pay or recognition they deserve, but it reflects the worldwide problem of gender
inequality. But the results of the solution are big too: when women begin to stand up for their
rights, change occurs and leaves the world better than it was found.
When all the fine details of the women’s soccer lawsuit get smoothed out, there will be a new
face to professional soccer and women’s sports around the world. With an upcoming Women’s
World Cup in France this summer, I hope we can all watch and cheer on the ladies who stood
up in the name of equality—and won.


Hays, G. (2019, March 11). USWNT lawsuit: What we know and what it means going forward.
Retrieved from

Das, A. (2019, March 8). U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Sues U.S. Soccer for Gender
Discrimination. ​The New York Times​. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from

Laura, S. (2016, March 31). Data: How does the U.S. women’s soccer team pay compare to the
men? ​PBS​. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from
Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe weigh in on "bold" soccer discrimination suit. (2019, March
11). ​CBS.​ Retrieved April 3, 2019, from

U.S. Women's National Team. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2019, from


A Look at Male and Female Professional Athlete Salaries. (2019). Retrieved April 23, 2019,
from Sportsmanagement.adelphi.edu