USWNT and Canada unite in protest for gender equality and

USWNT and Canada unite in protest for gender equality and transgender rights ahead of SheBelieves Cup game

(CNN) The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) and Canada Women’s Soccer Team gathered in a circle just before kick-off Thursday to show their solidarity with Canadians in their dispute over equal pay with the national association ahead of their opening game of the SheBelieves Cup at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

Canada’s players wore purple “enough is enough” T-shirts before kick-off and chose purple as a “symbol of protest,” according to the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association (CSPA). said in a statement before the game.

“Purple has historically been associated with gender equality efforts,” the statement added. “Given the current circumstances, our players will continue to wear purple until our federation implements standards that ensure equal treatment and equal opportunities.”

Both teams wore purple tape around their wrists “in the name of gender equality,” according to the USWNT Players Association said in a statement, in a show of support for Canadian women. The white tape on her other wrist, which reads “Defend Trans Joy,” was intended to support transgender rights, the statement added.

Players from Canada’s women’s soccer team said Wednesday they are attending the SheBelieves Cup amid “protest” as their gender equality dispute with the national federation remains unresolved.

Last week, the team called off its strike a day after it was announced and resumed training after the sport’s governing body, Canada Soccer, threatened legal action, the players said on February 11.

US Soccer agreed to an equal pay deal last May.

Star forward Mallory Swanson scored both goals in the USWNT’s win over Canada.

“Given that this tournament was established to highlight gender equality, it will mark the first time USWNT players will be treated equally. We thank US Soccer for their leadership, but know it has taken courage from our USWNT players to stand together in both collective bargaining and litigation,” the USWNT Players Association statement said.

“Although we are now on the other side of that battle and able to focus on our game on the field, our peers in Canada and elsewhere are experiencing the same pervasive misogyny and inequality that we faced.

“We support all women footballers by raising awareness of their common struggle, but we also call on everyone to enjoy and support the fight to eliminate ALL inequalities and discrimination in our sport.”

The USWNT defeated Canada 2-0 in the first game of the group stage. USWNT star Mallory Swanson scored twice in Thursday’s win.

CNN’s Issy Ronald contributed to the coverage.