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Becky Sauerbrunn agrees strike ‘off the table’ after judge ruling

Becky Sauerbrunn

COMMERCE CITY, CO - JUNE 02: Becky Sauerbrunn #4 of United States of America controls the ball against the Japan during an international friendly match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on June 2, 2016 in Commerce City, Colorado. Japan and the United States played to a 3-3 draw. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK -- U.S. women’s national team co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn said she and teammates will not try to fight a federal judge’s ruling last week that said they do not currently have a right to strike for the Olympics.

“I don’t think it is possible to fight it,” Sauerbrunn said Thursday while at an event for one of her sponsors, Budweiser, with other Rio Olympic hopefuls. “We kind of knew it could go either way, and it just didn’t go our way. We’re putting everything into the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] complaint, and we’re hoping that it’ll put enough pressure on U.S. Soccer to get us equal pay.”

In April, Sauerbrunn said that an Olympic boycott “would still be on the table” in July if nothing had changed regarding a wage-discrimination complaint filed against U.S. Soccer in March.

The 18-woman Olympic team is expected to be named by early next month. Sauerbrunn expects full participation.

“It’s definitely a personal decision if you want to come or not, but from what I’ve heard from everyone on my team is that if they’re on the 18 [player] roster, they’re going [to Rio],” Sauerbrunn said Thursday.

The team will gather for camp starting July 1. Two midfield stars -- Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd -- are still on the comeback from knee injuries.

“It’ll be close for Pinoe,” Sauerbrunn said of her readiness for July 1. “I think Carli feels pretty good she’ll be back in the next few weeks.”

Sauerbrunn, a 31-year-old eyeing her second Olympics, said she hopes to follow Lloyd’s path and hang up her national-team jersey after the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“But I don’t want to be just holding on for dear life,” she said. “I still want to be feeling like I’m making an impact on the team and that my body’s holding up, that the coaches still rely on me and that the team still relies on me. I might need somebody on the outside to be like, all right, it’s time to hang it up, but for right now, I’m looking towards another cycle.”

MORE: Lloyd ranks Olympic final-winning goals, World Cup hat trick

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