The U.S. women’s national soccer team stood in solidarity with the Canadian national team on Thursday in Orlando during the SheBelieves Cup in the name of eliminating inequality and discrimination.
Team Canada has been one of the best in the world, collecting gold at the Olympics and being among favorites to win the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which begins in July.
However, the team has been very public in their dispute with their federation, which they say has had significant budget cuts for the women’s team as well as other programs. They also alleged that preparations for their World Cup are being compromised.
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Before the match began, Canada wore purple shirts with the saying “Enough Is Enough” written on it, over their jerseys. Both teams also met at midfield and wrapped their arms around each other as every player wore purple tape on their wrist to signify gender equality.
They also wore white tape with the words “Defend Trans Joy.”
In 2022, the U.S. women reached a landmark agreement of $24 million with their federation, ending a six-year legal battle over equal pay. The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the deal in February 2022 where players will split $22 million, which was about one-third what they sought in damages. The other $2 million would benefit players in their post-soccer careers as well as charitable efforts at growing the sport for women.
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Now, Canada fights their own battle.
“It’s pretty disgusting that we’re having to ask just to be treated equally,” Canada’s Janine Beckie said, via ESPN. “It’s a fight that women all over the world have to partake in every single day. But quite frankly, we’re really sick of it. It’s 2023, we won the damn Olympic Games and we’re about to go to the World Cup with the team who could win.”
All week leading up to this match, the U.S. team has been their opponent.
“To have their federation meet them this way after winning a world championship is f—ing wild to me. I think we’re all with them all the time,” Megan Rapinoe told reporters.
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Alex Morgan added: “They’re seeing their federation not live up to their word and they’re done waiting, they’re done being patient. So as much as us U.S. players can support them in their fight for equal pay, we’ll do that.”
During practices this week, the Canadian team wore jerseys inside out, copying a similar protest by the U.S. women just three years ago at the same tournament.
“Our sole priority is to address the request of the women’s national team’s players,” Canada Soccer told ESPN.
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The U.S. team won the friendly match, 2-0, as Mallory Swanson scored both goals in the first half.