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Who is Megan Rapinoe? American footballer withdraws from international competition


Egan Rapinoe ended one of the most successful careers in women’s soccer history with an assist to help the United States beat South Africa 2-0 in a friendly match.

In her 203rd and final cap, the winger took the corner to head Emily Sonnett in as her country gathered in Chicago for their final match after a disappointing World Cup performance. She will play a few more games for OL Reign, the Seattle-based team she plays club soccer for.

Rapinoe will be remembered for winning two World Cups and the Olympic Games title, but she will also be loved for her support of LGBT rights, racial justice and equal pay.

“It says a lot about us that everything I feel on the field is nothing compared to what we accomplished off the field,” Rapinoe said.

“But I think even in the years leading up to that, having talked so much about racial justice and gay rights and feeling like the team had really entered a new era and taken it upon itself to be much more than what we were on the field. field.”

It’s the end of one of the most dynamic careers in women’s football history – and not just for Rapinoe’s vibrant hair, which was a shade of turquoise for the World Cup but is now blonde. But as her days roaming the left wing come to an end, it’s unlikely this will be the last we see of her.

Here are some of the reasons she became so loved and hated in the United States and beyond.

USA’s Megan Rapinoe looks on from the field before the Women’s World Cup Group E match between USA and Vietnam

/ P.A.

It’s Ra-PINO, not Rap-In-O

First of all, you don’t want to mispronounce his name, a mistake made by then-US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro in 2019.

“Carlos had the biggest sack fumble of all time,” Rapinoe recently told Time magazine. “Just squeaky.”

The accident occurred after Rapinoe and her teammates lobbied their federation for female players to receive equal pay to men.

Their affair went back and forth for an interminable period. But the effort was worth it, as the United States became the first soccer federation to announce identical pay for men’s and women’s national team competitions, while also sharing prize money equally.

Rapinoé in 2015

/ AFP via Getty Images

His twin was also a footballer

Rapinoe grew up in Redding, California, with five siblings, including her twin sister Rachael, who also became a professional soccer player.

Rachael Rapinoe has now retired after playing in the 2000s and was part of the U.S. Under-23 team in 2006.

Rapinoe has won just about everything there is to win in football – and in style

Rapinoe has scored 63 goals in her 203 games for the United States, an incredible return for a midfielder, including six at the 2019 World Cup to be named top scorer. She won that tournament as well as the 2015 World Cup with the United States, as well as numerous titles with OL Reign and Lyon in France – who she has played for since the 2013-14 season.

But she also won fans over with her creativity, attempting to cross with a rabona kick – one foot sweeping behind the other – in one of her first matches for the United States. Technical moves are often at odds with the physical approach of the American game, but Rapinoe continued to play her own way.

Rapinoe prepares for a free kick against Nigeria

/ P.A.

And she must have a knack for unconventional goals and skills, having scored directly from a corner to help the United States win their 2012 Olympic semifinal against Canada.

Former American teammate Abby Wambach said of her: “Megan is always creatively trying to figure out what’s the best way, the most fun way, to get the job done. »

Just because it’s retiring doesn’t mean it’s going to go out of style.

It wasn’t just Rapinoe’s hair color (previously pink and blonde) that turned heads; her fashion style has her mixing designer and big name brands.

Rapinoe has “the sass and attitude of a style icon” according to Vogue and has posed in the famous swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated.

At the 2021 Met Gala, the soccer player wore a red silk suit with a blue and white star-spangled shirt — an outfit that screamed “USA, USA” as well as the message “In gay we trust” written on her purse.

She said on Instagram that she wants to be a designer when she “grows up.”

Rapinoe as USA struggles to overtake Portugal

/ Getty Images

She defends LGBT rights as well as racial equality

And trans rights! In fact, Rapinoe supports many great causes and told Time magazine about her passion: “No matter how hard you try, out of nowhere, this fucking lesbian with purple hair is going to come in and say, f*ck you.” *k you.

Rapinoe came out as a lesbian in 2012 and has been with former American basketball player Sue Bird since 2018. They have been engaged since 2020.

She has been a big supporter of LGBT rights as well as the trans community – recently speaking out against those who question transgender participation, like Martina Navratilova and ESPN anchor Sage Steele.

Her aforementioned Met Gala outfit was made by Black designer Sergio Hudson, with Rapinoe wanting to support racial equality in fashion.

Former American soccer player Julie Foudy said: “In the past, a lot of female athletes – of our generation, of course – were told to sit down, shut up, be grateful. What Rapinoe brought to the equation was the idea that we’re going to have to boldly disrupt. History has shown that women like her make people cross that line.

US President Joe Biden presents Megan Rapinoe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

/ AFP via Getty Images

She is hated by Trump but loved by Biden

Rapinoe’s views made her a target of the American right, but the player didn’t back down, even when she offended a president.

During the 2019 World Cup, Rapinoe said that if her team won, she would turn down any potential invitations “to the fucking White House” under the Trump administration.

The president told him to “win before you speak.” Rapinoe followed up by scoring a free kick against France in the next World Cup match and celebrating with a pose in front of the crowd.

She also angered the conservative-leaning United States by supporting Colin Kaepernick’s move to kneel during the national anthem – becoming the first white professional athlete to do so in the United States. This led to her becoming a victim of abuse, and even her fiancée Bird received text messages from friends and family asking Rapinoe to stop kicking the hornet’s nest.

But her activism has earned her a fan in current US President Joe Biden and her invitation to the White House was accepted earlier last year when Rapinoe was in attendance to become the first footballer to receive the Presidential Medal of freedom.

Sue Bird, Rapinoe’s partner

/ USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Retirement plans are uncertain but exciting

As for what’s next, that’s still to be decided, but it’s hard to imagine Rapinoe settling in alongside Roy Keane and Micah Richards on the pundit couch.

She and Bird started a production company called A Touch More, but told Time last month that she would not run for office, despite her contacts with presidents.

standard Sport

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