Megan Rapinoe Profile
|Born||Jul 05, 1985|
One of the world's best players who also spends time making a significant positive impact off the pitch, Megan Rapinoe is widely regarded as a modern icon in the game.
Megan Rapinoe is an American soccer player who plays for OL Reign in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). The USA forward has won several competitions with club and country and enjoyed a stellar 2019, winning both the Ballon d'Or Feminin and Best FIFA Women's Player award.
With the United States Women's National Team (USWNT), she has won the FIFA Women's World Cup on two occasions. Domestically, she has won the NWSL Shield twice and the top tier in France with Olympique Lyonnais once.
Rapinoe also has a big influence off the pitch and is known for her activism surrounding the likes of LGBTQ rights and equal pay. In 2019, she was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year.
Megan Rapinoe and the USWNT
Megan Rapinoe has won over 160 caps for the USWNT and was a former co-captain of her nation. Her international career began in 2006 but two separate injuries meant she missed major tournaments, including the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.
On her return from injury, Rapinoe helped her nation qualify for the 2011 Women's World Cup. The attacker's profile soared when she sang Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA into a pitchside microphone after scoring in a group stage game against Colombia. She turned provider in the quarter-final, for Abby Wambach's 122nd-minute equalizing header, before scoring herself in the penalty shootout. Rapinoe again assisted in the semis and set up another in the final against Japan but had to settle for a runners-up medal.
Rapinoe soon won her first major competition with the USWNT, as they took gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Her three goals and four assists earned her a place in the BBC's Team of the Tournament. Their Games triumph kickstarted a period of success for the nation who were crowned winners of the Algarve Cup in 2013, with Rapinoe named Player of the Tournament.
She became a World Cup winner in 2015 and was again recognised for her individual performances. Rapinoe ended the tournament with two goals and two assists - one of which was a cross to Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the 5-2 final victory over Japan. Rapinoe was selected in the Dream Team, an XI selected by fifa.com users.
The USWNT picked up further honours over the next few years, including the CONCACAF Women's Championship and SheBelieves Cup, and they retained the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2019. Rapinoe won both the Golden Boot, for finishing top scorer with six goals, and Golden Ball, an award given to the best player of the tournament. One of those goals came in the final victory against the Netherlands, making her the oldest woman to score in a World Cup final, at 34 years of age. During the tournament, Rapinoe celebrated her goals with her arms outstretched, a pose which blew up on social media and is now iconic in the women's game.
In November 2020, she was left out of the USWNT roster, but head coach Vlatko Andonovski stressed that it is not the end for her in the national side.
Megan Rapinoe's activism
Rapinoe is well known across the globe for her activism.
In 2019, just prior to their World Cup success, Rapinoe and 27 of her USWNT teammates filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Foundation. They claimed they were being discriminated against because of their gender and asked for damages of $66million. A statement read: "The female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts. This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players, with the female players, in contrast to male players, becoming world champions."
Their case was dismissed in court in May 2020 and the decision was appealed by the USWNT. Rapinoe said: "I think so many women can understand what this feeling is of going into a negotiation, knowing equal pay is not on the table, knowing anywhere close to your male counterparts is not even on the table."
In 2016, Rapinoe made headlines for becoming the first white American athlete to kneel during the national anthem at a sports game. She did so in support of American football player Colin Kaepernick who had knelt a week prior in protest against racial injustice. US Soccer's board of directors soon banned kneeling during the anthem, but overturned their decision in 2020 following the George Floyd protests.
Since coming out as a lesbian in 2012, Rapinoe has worked tirelessly for LGBTQ rights. She is a member of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network. The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup victory coincided with Pride month, so when asked about that, Rapinoe said: "Go gays! You can't win a championship without gays on your team - it's never been done before, ever. That's science, right there!" She added: "But for me, to be gay and fabulous, during Pride month at the World Cup, is nice."
Rapinoe, alongside fellow USWNT star Alex Morgan, signed up to the Common Goal campaign in 2017. The initiative to donate 1% of weekly wages to charity was started by male soccer player Juan Mata.
Megan Rapinoe's club career
Rapinoe began her professional career in the newly formed Women's Professional Soccer division, the highest level in the US. She was named in the division's All-Star Team with Chicago Red Stars in her debut season, before finishing as Championship runners-up with MagicJack in the next campaign.
After a short stint with Sydney FC in Australia and a season with Seattle Sounders, Rapinoe joined Olympique Lyonnais. With the French side, she scored two goals and claimed an assist on the road to a Champions League title, while also finishing top of the domestic league - Division 1 Feminine.
Rapinoe then joined Seattle Reign, now known as OL Reign, of the National Women's Soccer League. She has twice won the NWSL shield with the Reign, in 2014 and 2015, but is yet to be victorious in the Championship final. Her performances for the Tacoma side, coupled with her success on the international stage, saw her pick up the Women's Ballon d'Or award in 2019, as well as being named Best FIFA Women's Player. She was also named a 'Reign FC Legend' in 2019 for her "extraordinary contributions".
Rapinoe started dating basketball player Sue Bird in 2016 and the pair got engaged in October 2020. Her ex-girlfriends include Australian soccer player Sarah Walsh and singer Sera Cahoone.
Rapinoe's parents are called Jim and Denise. She has a twin sister called Rachael and a younger brother named Brian. Brian has suffered from drug addiction and has spent a lot of his adult life incarcerated. Speaking to ESPN in 2019, Rapinoe said: "My brother is special. He has so much to offer. It would be such a shame if he left this world with nothing but prison sentences behind him."
She supports the Democratic Party. Her father Jim voted for Republican candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 election and, upon finding that out, Megan and sister Rachael didn't speak to him for a month.
Megan Rapinoe's net worth
According to Forbes, Rapinoe earns an estimated $4.2million, a sum which puts her just outside of the top 10 highest paid female athletes in 2020. In 2019, she earned a two-book deal with Penguin Press. She also endorses several different brands including Samsung, Budweiser and Visa. Rapinoe narrated a 2020 commercial campaign called You Can't Stop Us for Nike.