The eighth annual SheBelieves Cup begins amidst CanWNT equal pay discrepancies
The GIST: The eighth annual SheBelieves Cup begins tomorrow with four world Top 15 squads (No. 1 USWNT, No. 6 CanWNT, No. 9 Brazil and No. 11 Japan) tuning up ahead of the women’s World Cup in July. The kicker? The female empowerment tourney is shrouded in an equal pay dispute.
The backdrop: As explained on yesterday’s episode of The GIST of It, the CanWNT will play the SheBelieves under protest. Amid budget cuts, equal pay discrepancies and a general lack of support, the 2020 Olympic gold medal–winning squad went on strike over the weekend, which was deemed illegal under Ontario labor law.
- Canada Soccer threatened retaliatory action, all while still neglecting to pay players their 2022 compensation.
- Taking a page out of their rival’s playbook, the red and white covered the Soccer Canada crest on their jerseys during training on Sunday, and captain Christine Sinclair says they’ll “continue the fight while competing.” More power to ’em.
The tournament: The SheBelieves is a round-robin, meaning each team plays each other once. Squads earn three points for a win, one for a draw and nada for a loss.
- And those points really matter because there are no playoffs here — the nation with the most points after three matches is the winner. Yes, it’s quick, but with games in three cities in less than a week, it mimics the fast-paced reality of the World Cup.
How to watch: Japan and Brazil (potentially featuring Marta in her return from an ACL tear) kick things off tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET before three-time defending champs Team USA take on Canada at 7 p.m. ET in a rematch of the 2020 Olympic semifinals. They may be supporting each other off the pitch, but expect plenty of fire when these contenders go cleat-to-cleat.