Report: Alex Morgan says women want deal by March 1

Alex Morgan, who debuted on Saturday for new French club Lyon before returning to the U.S. women's national team camp in California, told the Guardian that the U.S. women "need to do what’s necessary" to win their fight with U.S. Soccer for equal pay and better working conditions.

The women are operating under the terms of the expired union agreement that expired Dec. 31. But Morgan says something has to give to get U.S. Soccer to budge from its negotiating position.

"We’re hoping to reach agreement," she said, "but there eventually needs to be pressure from one side to meet in the middle. We don’t have a World Cup or Olympics to use as leverage while we negotiate a new contract. But we have an important tournament coming up. The SheBelieves Cup brings France, England and Germany to the U.S. [March 1-7]. Before we play those matches, we want to get a deal done so we can move on.”

Morgan says a strike wouldn't be a first for women's soccer.

"Colombia and a couple of other countries might do the same," she said. "And Australia didn’t play us [in September 2015] because of the same battle. We were supposed to play them in a few weeks and they decided not to get on the flight because they weren’t getting paid what they were worth – or anywhere close. To force a change sometimes you need to stand up. You know what you’re worth – rather than what your employer is paying you. We’re not scared. To move the women’s game ahead we need to do what’s necessary. I feel other national teams are looking at us for that guidance.”

The one problem is that the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Players Association would have to give 60-day notice of their intention to terminate the existing agreement and then be able to strike. If they have not already done so, the earliest they could strike is mid-March, after the SheBelieves Cup.

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