Canada’s women’s soccer team took their dispute with their national association onto the pitch on Thursday by wearing purple jerseys with “Enough is Enough” written on the front ahead of their SheBelieves Cup opener against the US.
The team’s protest is the latest escalation in their dispute with Canada Soccer over pay equity issues.
“Tonight, our players will be wearing purple as a symbol of protest,” the Canadian Players Association said in a statement. “Considering the current circumstances, our players will continue to wear purple until our association has standards in place that ensure equal treatment and opportunity.”
Canada wore the purple T-shirts during warmups at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, before changing into their traditional red kit, but wearing purple tape on their wrists.
Purple has historically been associated with efforts to achieve gender equality.
Canada lost the match 2-0.
The Olympic champions had boycotted training last Saturday while demanding immediate changes, but reversed course later that day as Canada Soccer called their strike unlawful and threatened legal action.
The squad said they would play under protest at the four-nation SheBelieves Cup.
In a media call on Tuesday, the players said the “disgusting” discrepancy between the Canada men’s and women’s soccer programs became obvious last year in Qatar, where Canada’s men made their first FIFA World Cup appearance in 37 years in November.
Canada Soccer spent US$11 million on the men’s program in 2021 and US$5.1 million on the women.
Canada Soccer has said it has a “proven track record” of supporting the women’s game and that pay equity was “at the core” of ongoing player negotiations.
US forward Mallory Swanson scored both goals against Canada.
She connected with a cross from Alex Morgan for a stunning finish in the seventh minute before slotting home in the 34th minute following a defensive mistake by Canada.
Canada captain Christine Sinclair said the team were “mentally exhausted.”
“Either we’re fighting for everything and come out on fire or we come out flat, and I think you saw those first 10, 15 minutes, we came out flat,” Sinclair said.
“I think we looked like a team that was tired, a team that’s mentally exhausted, coming up against a team, I mean, they’re defending World Cup champions for a reason and you have to be at your best to compete with them, and we weren’t tonight,” she said.
Canada next face Brazil tomorrow before taking on Japan three days later.
Brazil defeated Japan 1-0 in the tournament’s opening match, Debinha scoring the only goal.
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