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LFG is a no-holds-barred, inside account of the U.S. women’s national team’s ongoing fight for equal pay as told by Megan Rapinoe, Jessica McDonald, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Sam Mewis and others. An official selection of the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, the documentary film is directed by Academy Award®-winners Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine, and produced by the Fines and Abby Greensfelder with Howard T. Owens and Ben Silverman serving as executive producers for Propagate Content in collaboration with CNN Films and HBO Max.

Three months before the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the players filed a class-action, gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, which sets the stage for LFG. The film interweaves transcendent athletic performances, including a record-breaking World Cup victory in 2019, with the players’ ongoing pursuit for equal pay. LFG grants viewers unprecedented access to these game-changers as they meet the physical demands and pressures of being some of the world’s top athletes, while showcasing their courage, unflinching spirit and resiliency in an effort to create long-lasting social change with the biggest fight for women’s rights since Title IX.

Featured Participants

Megan

Megan Rapinoe (Forward, #15)

A co-captain of the United States’ national team alongside Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan from 2018 to 2020, Rapinoe is women’s soccer’s most visible and outspoken advocate for equal pay. Named FIFA’s Golden Boot and FIFA's “Best Woman Player” in 2019, Rapinoe won gold with the national team at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, and at the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cups. The Redding, CA native – who currently plays for the OL Reign in Tacoma, WA – is also an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ causes and was also a winner of the prestigious 2019 Ballon D'or Award, the 2019 Glamour Women of the Year Award, and was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2020.

Jessica

Jessica McDonald (Forward, #14)

A veteran of numerous NWSL teams including the Chicago Red Stars, Seattle Reign FC and the Houston Dash, McDonald was added to the final roster of the United States 23-player squad for that year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in May 2019. McDonald, who grew up in Phoenix, AZ, made an appearance for the team as a half-time substitute in the teams 3-0 win over Chile during the World Cup. She currently plays for the North Carolina Courage and lives with her 9 year-old son Jeremiah in North Carolina.

Becky

Becky Sauerbrunn (Defender, #4)

As of 2021, St. Louis, MO native Sauerbrunn serves as captain of the U.S. women’s national team soccer team after previously serving as captain for the Utah Royals and—from 2016 to 2018—co-captaining the national team with Carli Lloyd. Sauerbrunn won gold with the national team at the 2012 Olympics and was on the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion teams. A decorated defensive player, Sauerbrunn currently plays for the Portland, OR-based Thorns and in early 2020 she was named the first president of the USWNT Players Association.

Kelley

Kelley O'Hara (Defender, #5)

O’Hara is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion who currently plays for the Washington Spirit. She was named the Hermann Trophy winner in 2009 while playing in college for the Stanford Cardinals and has the distinction of being one of three players who played every minute in the 2012 women’s Olympic tournament, which ultimately netted her and her team gold. A native of Fayetteville, GA, O’Hara is also the host of “Just Women’s Sports” podcast.

Sam

Samantha Mewis (Midfielder, #3)

Mewis has established herself a star of the midfield for both the U.S. national and English FA WSL Manchester City teams. The Massachusetts native’s club career started in 2013 when she signed with Pali Blues of the W-League and she has since won three NWSL Championship titles with the Western New York Flash and the North Carolina Courage. Mewis was a member, alongside her sister Kristie, of the U.S. 's under-17 team, making them the first siblings to represent the United States at a Women’s World Cup.

Christian

Christen Press (Forward, #23)

Los Angeleno Press currently plays for Manchester United of the English FA Women’s Super League as well as for the U.S. national team. Her first of 144 appearances for the United States was against Scotland in 2013 and she is ranked the 9th-best scorer of all-time with 60 total goals. In 2010, Press received the Hermann Trophy and also holds records for scoring and assisting during her time in college as a Stanford Cardinal. In 2019, she co-founded the gender-neutral lifestyle/clothing brand, re-inc, with fellow players Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Meghan Klingenberg.

About The Filmmakers

Filmmakers

Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine are award-winning filmmakers and producers whose raw, intimate storytelling style has been hailed by critics as “visually ravishing” and “enormously spirit-raising.” Their documentary-short Inocente (a coming-of-age story centering on a 15-year-old homeless, undocumented female immigrant in California) won an Oscar® in 2013 and was the first crowdfunded film to earn such a distinction. Previously, the Fines’ first feature-length documentary War/Dance, about child soldiers in Uganda, was nominated for an Academy Award® in 2007 and their 2013 HBO film Life According to Sam, about Sam Berns and his family’s fight to overcome progeria, and won both a Peabody and Emmy® for Exceptional Merit in Documentary filmmaking. In 2021, the Fines launched their impact studio Change Content with an edict to develop true stories into unforgettable narratives and docs that upend the way viewers think and feel about critical issues. They are proud to premiere LFG as the first of many projects that align with Change Content’s mission: True stories. True Impact.

Sean

HBO Max is proud to partner with organizations who champion women on and off the field:

Our Partners

WSF logo

The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) is the ally, advocate and catalyst for tomorrow’s leaders. It exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, the Foundation strengthens and expands participation and leadership opportunities through its research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. WSF has positively shaped the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. It is building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports.®

Help WSF keep fighting for equitable access for all girls and women across all sports, nationwide. Learn more ways to support them here.

Step Up logo

Step Up believes all girls should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential. As a mentorship nonprofit, we support and inspire girls of color ages 14-18 on their way to confidence and careers. Step Up envisions a world where everyone has a seat at the table, and works to create a pipeline of diverse young women to confidently and skillfully enter the workforce with the support of their woman mentors.

Learn more about Step Up and their programs for changemakers here. 

Girls enter sports later, participate in lower numbers and drop out sooner in many settings. Urban and rural girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys.
Source: Go Out & Play: Youth Sports in America, WSF, 2008

 

40% of teen girls do not participate in sport compared to 25% of teen boys.
Source: Teen Sport in America: Why Participation Matters, WSF, 2018

 

In 2019, coverage of women athletes on televised news and highlight shows totaled only 5.4%.
Source: One and Done: The Long Eclipse of Women’s Televised Sports, 2021

Statistics

Getting girls into the game and keeping them playing, is key. But too few opportunities exist for girls.  Disparities in youth sports persists, with far fewer girls participating in sports than boys.

  • 36.4% girls v. 45.6% boys (ages 7-17) currently play sports.
    Source: Keeping Girls in the Game: Factors that Influence Sport Participation, WSF, 2020

 

Barriers can get in the way, from program availability and cost to concerns about safety and transportation. 

  • 1/3 of girls felt their schools were not offering girls’ sports that interested them, and 1/4 had challenges around participation due to family responsibilities or lack of money.
    Source: Communities at the Forefront: Elevating Girls’ Sport Participation through Local Programs, WSF, 2020

 

Female leaders in sport reflect on the inequities in diversity and inclusion at the administrative and leadership levels of sport in the WSF’s 2020 Female Leader in Sport Survey.

  • 63% of female leaders in women’s sports report experiencing discrimination in the workplace​​​​​
  • 60% of female leaders report being paid less for doing the same job as a man
    Source: Chasing Equity: The Triumphs, Challenges and Opportunities in Sports for Girls and Women, WSF, 2020

 

Unfortunately, women’s sports receive the same amount of news coverage as they did in the 1980s (it has not substantially grown) according to a study of sports reporting over three decades.

  • The study found that in 2019, coverage of women athletes on televised news and highlight shows, including ESPN’s SportsCenter, totaled only 5.4% of all airtime, a negligible change from the 5% observed in 1989 and 5.1% in 1993.
  • The total drops to 3.5% if coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup is removed.
    ​​Source: One and Done:
The Long Eclipse
of Women’s Televised Sports, 1989–201, Cheryl Cooky, LaToya D. Council, Maria A. Mears, and Michael A. Messner 

 

However, glass ceilings are being broken. Recent examples:

  • In the fall 2020, history was made when Kim Ng became Major League Baseball’s first female General Manager. The Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng, making her the first female and Asian-American general manager in MLB. She is also the highest-ranking woman in baseball operations in MLB. 
  • Katie Sowers, 49ers offensive assistant coach, who led the United States to a gold medal in the Women’s World Championship in 2013, became the first female and first openly gay person to coach in the Super Bowl. 
  • Sarah Fuller, goalkeeper for Vanderbilt University’s soccer team makes history and becomes the first woman to take the field in a Power Five conference.
    Source: Both of these data points come from the same source​​​​​​​

Get Involved

One of the most powerful ways to show your support for female athletes is to buy tickets to games and show up to support them.  Buy tickets to National Women's Soccer League and search for teams in your neighborhood to support and celebrate here.

Consider volunteering to be a coach for a local girls’ sports team.  

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