⚽️Football Stories: 2019 Soccer Shocker, Megan Rapinoe
Rapinoe plays for and captains Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League, as a midfielder and winger.
During this year's games, Rapinoe has gotten a lot of attention both on and off the field for her high-tempo plays and outspoken nature.
The 33-year-old forward has become an inspiration with her conscious efforts to be a role model for women everywhere.
Megan Anna Rapinoe is born on July 5, 1985, in Redding, California, USA, her mother, Denise, is a server at a popular restaurant in her hometown of Redding, CA, and her father, Jim, owns a construction company.
Rapinoe played for the US in their youth team and made her full senior international debut for the US women soccer team in 2006. Rapione was part of the US team that won the gold at the London Olympics 2012 and FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.
Her cross to Abby Wambach in the 122nd minute of the 2011 quarterfinal game against Brazil, which resulted in an equalizer goal, was awarded ESPN's 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play of the Year. In the 2019 2019 women's world cup, she scored the opening goal in the 2-0 match. She won the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball. Rapinoe was the absolute star of this World Cup for the USWNT.
Olympic gold medalist announced to the world that she’s gay shortly before the 2012 London Olympic Games. She’d been out to her family and team members for years, but decided to come out publicly after a yearlong thought process because concealing a central part of her identity seemed “weird” and “not authentic.” She said in her interview, “being true to yourself is a beautiful thing”.
She was in a relationship with an Australian soccer player, Sarah Walsh in 2009, but they ended their relationship in 2013 and later she was rumored to be dating Sera Cahoone, a sub pop recording artist.
They announced their engagement in August 2015 but ended it in 2016. She then began dating Seattle storm soccer player, Sue Bird. Rapinoe and Her Girlfriend Are a True Power Couple.
Both have plenty of accolades to go around. As co-captain of soccer's US Women's National Team, Rapinoe, 34, and her team just won the FIFA Women's World Cup. She's also captain of Seattle's Reign FC, while Bird, 38, has been with the WNBA's Seattle Storm since 2002. She's won three championships with the basketball team and between the two of them, they have five Olympic gold medals. Impressive doesn't even begin to describe it!
Though both athletes play for and lived in Seattle, they hadn't met until briefly seeing each other at a press event for the 2016 Summer Olympics, they shared in an interview at the ESPNW Women and Sports Summit. Rapinoe ended up attending a few of Bird's basketball games in Rio, and they had "kind of the same agent," so they would all hang out during their off time. Bird jokingly said that her partner "slid into my DMs," though fitting for both, the messages had a purpose. Rapinoe reached out to Bird to commend her for the recent #BlackLivesMatter protest her team had taken part in. DMs quickly lead to texting, and once they were both back in Seattle, the rest was history.
But aside from their athletic prowess, both have a long history of being socially active, speaking up on the topics of equal pay for female athletes, LGBTQ rights, racism, and police brutality. Rapinoe tends to be more high-profile when it comes to championing various issues. In 2016, she was one of the first white, female athletes to take Colin Kaepernick's lead by kneeling during the National Anthem.
She acknowledged that “It doesn’t feel good really for anyone … but that’s what it takes. Progress is hard.”
Megan Rapinoe no longer kneels during the national anthem like she previously did due to a U.S. Soccer rule put in place, but that doesn't mean she fully participates in the pre-game tradition. She now stands alongside her teammates as the song plays, refusing to sing along or, as is tradition, cover her heart with her hand. Rapinoe told reporters that the anthem has become a "somber moment" for her and described her new approach to it as a "peaceful protest."
The silent observance of the anthem is nothing new, but has resurfaced in the media after comments from both Rapinoe and President Donald Trump reignited the anthem-protest flames stemming back to former San Franciso 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem of Sept. 1, 2016, preseason NFL game although she was largely criticized for not singing U.S. national anthem during World Cup.
Megan Rapinoe wasn't the only one that felt the backlash due to her kneeling during the national anthem. Her mother said to reporters that she felt the heat as well in her conservative county, which strongly disapproved of her famous daughter's gesture. People reportedly called her home constantly. Some even confronted her at the restaurant where she worked for three decades, which had pictures of her daughter hanging on the walls until the restaurant took them down.
Rapinoe criticized FIFA for the huge gap in prize money awarded at the men’s and women’s world cups. She acknowledged that closing the so-called “gender wage gap” between men and women’s soccer would entail generating more money for the women’s team, what conservative critics have argued all along.
Before the 2019 World cup the final, President Donald Trump unleashed a tweetstorm targeted at Rapinoe, captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, after a video surfaced of the athlete saying she’s not going to the White House if the team wins the championship. She had told prior to the 2019 World Cup that she was "a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration" because of her beliefs. Needless to say, her dislike of Trump runs deeper than just a difference of opinion.
When she scored the first of her two goals in their 2-1 victory over France in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup, on a cunning and elusive free-kick, Megan Rapinoe ran to the corner of the field and held her arms aloft. The gesture was not a mere celebration. It seemed to say, this is all of me. Take me for the bold, complex person that I am: big personality; social activist; champion of equal pay; national anthem protester; presidential critic; lavender-haired soccer star of ruthless and creative purpose.
The Women’s World Cup champion has the tiny script, “Nature ran her course” written on her left bicep and her other tattoo is on her wrist and it reads, in Arabic, “Trust yourself.” She also has three triangles and an outline of California.
The tattoos signify that Rapinoe, who is an openly gay advocate for equality and gender pay discrimination, will always fight for what she believes is right and be “transparent” about who she is. Rapinoe said: “I’m pretty transparent in the way that I live my life.” And in the end, that is all that matters!