Last week, the Canadian women said, they were dead-set on skipping the SheBelieves Cup, an important warm-up event for this summer’s Women’s World Cup, which Canada — the reigning Olympic gold medalist in women’s soccer — will enter as a favorite.

They arrived at the tournament where they will be playing the United States (Thursday), Brazil(Sunday), and Japan (Wednesday). The players shared some thoughts with them. of They were shocked at the inequalities they had grown accustomed to. They said that there were less staff than normal. They said that there were less players and more days at camp. Therefore, the team declined to play on the field.

The strike was short-lived. Canada Soccer met with the strikers, but it ended in a bad way, as the team claimed. threatened to sue the players’ union and individual players for illegal work suspension. Players refused to accept that risk. The players claimed they were protesting the decision and pledged to keep raising the issue in public.

Beckie and Christine Sinclair (the long-serving team captain) said that they couldn’t continue to represent the federation until their disputes were resolved with the team. Infuriated after Friday’s meeting with the federation, midfielder Sophie Schmidt said she resolved to retire on the spot, and asked the team’s coach, Bev Priestman, to arrange her flight home. Sinclair convinced Schmidt to stay on until the World Cup, and Schmidt agreed. of leaving.

This Thursday Night Canada’s team will take the field knowing it has an ally in its opponent, the U.S. women’s team, and a blueprint in that team’s successful equal pay fight. They spent nearly 10 years fighting the federation they were trying to equal treatment and equal compensation. In that time, they won two World Cup championships. Though the U.S. team eventually lost its equal pay case in federal court, it emerged last year with a landmark agreement that might be the most player-friendly contract in women’s sports.