Megan Rapinoe, 33, is already one of the best players to ever hit the field as part of the United States Women’s National Team. The midfielder/winger is a gold-medal Olympian and World Cup champion. As one of the team’s co-captains, she’s a leader both on and off the field, helping make the plays that win games and win equal pay for her crew. With the way she’s playing, it’s not completely unreasonable that she’ll be back for the 2023 World Cup, but at that point, she’ll be 37. Soccer is a young person’s sport, so it’s possible that this is Megan’s last shot at World Cup Glory. Oh, you better believe she’s going to leave everything out on the field, so before the Americans’ first game, here’s what you need to know about her:
1. She has a twin. Megan Anna Rapinoe grew up in Redding, California with her parents and five siblings, including her fraternal twin (and former soccer star) Rachael Rapinoe, 33. She played for the University of Portland Pilots before joining the WPS Draft in 2009. Since going pro, she’s played for the Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence and MagicJack in the Women’s Professional Soccer team. She also has played for the Sydney FC in the Australian W-League and the Olympique Lyonnais in the French league. Since 2013, she’s been with the NWSL team, the Seattle Reign FC.
2. She’s one of the best players in the world. This will be Megan’s third and (likely) final World Cup appearance. She was with the squad that won the tournament in 2015, and in 2012, she scored two goals in the 4-3 semifinal win over Canda in the Summer Olympics. She’s been named a World Cup All-Star, and twice has been short-listed for FIFA Women’s Player of the Year.
3. Megan’s dating a fellow sports star. Megan came out in 2012 during an interview with OUT magazine. At the time, she was involved with Australian soccer player Sarah Walsh. They ended the relationship in 2013. After dating and becoming engaged with Sera Cahoone, Megan was single again in 2017, after they called it off. Since July of that year, she and WNBA star Sue Bird (point guard for the Seattle Storm) have been together. “Every team needs a Megan Rapinoe,” says USWNT superstar forward Alex Morgan (per Sports Illustrated), “both on and off the field.”
4. She took a knee, just like Colin Kaepernick…. After coming out, Megan became a prominent voice for equality, standing up for LGBT rights, women’s equality, and more social causes. Megan took a knee during the national anthem in 2016, as a sign of solidarity with then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country,” she said, per The Guardian.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it,” she added. “It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”
“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart,” she told Yahoo! Sports in 2019. “I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.”
5. …and she has already said she won’t meet with Trump. Typically, a team usually waits until it wins a major championship to say they will decline an invitation to the White House. Megan isn’t waiting until the end of the tournament. “Absolutely not,” she told Sports Illustrated when asked if she would visit the White House if the USWNT team were to win. “I am not going to fake it, hobnob with the president, who is clearly against so many of the things that I am [for] and so many of the things that I actually am,” she said. “I have no interest in extending our platform to him.”