Canada took its dispute with its national association to the field on Thursday, wearing purple jerseys with the words “Enough, Enough” emblazoned across the front. The SheBelieves Cup first match against USA.
The team’s protest is the latest escalation in their dispute with Canada Soccer over pay equity.
“Tonight our players will be wearing purple as a symbol of protest,” the Canadian Players Association said in a statement.
“Given the current circumstances, our players will continue to wear purple until our association adopts a standard that ensures equal treatment and opportunity.”
The Canadians wore purple jerseys during warm-ups at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, before changing into their traditional red uniforms but donning purple wristbands.
The color purple has historically been associated with efforts to achieve gender equality.
The Olympic champions, who lost the match 2-0, boycotted training last Saturday demanding immediate changes, but reversed course later in the day when Canadian Soccer called their strike illegal and threatened legal action.
The team said it would play in protest at the four-nation SheBelieves Cup.
Speaking to media Tuesday, the players said the “disgusting” disparity between Canada’s men’s and women’s programs became evident last year in Qatar, where the Canadian men made their first World Cup appearance in 37 years in November.
Canada Soccer spent $11 million on the men’s program in 2021 and $5.1 million on the women’s program.
Canada Soccer said it has a “proven track record” of supporting the women’s game and that pay equity was “at the core” of the ongoing negotiations with the players.
USA forward Mallory Swanson scored both goals for Canada on Thursday.
She connected on Alex Morgan’s cross for a stunning finish in the seventh minute before scoring in the 34th minute after a Canadian defensive error.
Canada captain Christine Sinclair said the team was “mentally exhausted.”
“Either we fight for everything and come out of the fire, or we come out with nothing. And I think you saw that first 10-15 minutes when we got on level terms,” Sinclair said.
“I think we looked like a team that was tired, a team that was mentally drained, against a team, I mean, they’re the defending World Cup champions for a reason and you have to be at your best to compete with them. And we weren’t here tonight.”
On Sunday, the Canadians will meet with Brazil, and three days later – with Japan. Brazil defeated Japan 1-0 in the opening match of the tournament, with Debignha scoring the only goal.