Canada players hide jersey crest in protest over pay inequity

(Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

The Canadian women’s national team players attended training on Sunday ahead of the SheBelieves Cup, but not without making statements of protest.

Players trained for roughly two hours, wearing their kits inside out or with tape over the Soccer Canada crest, per TSN’s Rick Westhead. The protests come as the Canadian players prepare to participate unwillingly in the SheBelieves Cup after Canada Soccer considered their attempted strike to be “unlawful” and threatened legal action in response.

The players had planned to boycott the friendly tournament in the United States over budget cuts, equal pay grievances and lack of support from the federation.

The Canada women’s national team launched a strike on Friday. The next day, Canada Soccer used union busting tactics to end the team’s strike, threatening to sue players for “what could be millions of dollars in damages.”

In a statement, Canada Soccer said that the players “were not and are not in a legal strike position under Ontario labour law.”

“Canada Soccer therefore took the necessary steps to ensure that such games will be played as scheduled,” their statement continued.

Longtime Canada captain Christine Sinclair pushed back against the federation’s representation of the events.

“[Canada Soccer] flat-out just lied,” she said. “And now the public’s being lied to. That’s how they operate.”

Canada defender Vanessa Gilles outlined the team’s full list of grievances on Saturday, while U.S. women’s national team stars Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn voiced their support for the Canadian players. Canada’s women’s national team has been negotiating a new CBA with an emphasis on equitable pay after their previous contract expired in 2021. The USWNT reached a landmark CBA with U.S. Soccer and the men’s national team last year guaranteeing equal pay.

The USWNT and Canada meet in the first game of the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET in Orlando, Fla.