Having led the US team to victory at the Women’s Football World Cup, Megan Rapinoe continues to look ahead and focus on new challenges.
Who is Megan Rapinoe?
A striker, Rapinoe finished the World Cup with six goals and three assists – she was awarded the Golden Ball, which goes to the tournament’s top player, as well as the Golden Boot.
Rapinoe is now looking beyond what happens on the pitch, turning her attention to the fight for equality – focusing on racism, gender, and sexuality.
Rapinoe is in a relationship with Sue Bird – a professional basketball player who has represented the US at the Olympics.
The couple have been together for a number of years, announcing their engagement in October 2020.
They’re the ultimate lesbian power couple.
Rapinoe on racism
“If there’s ever an instance of racism, if every single player on the field is not outraged then to me they’re part of the problem…” said Rapinoe, talking to the BBC.
Rapinoe doesn’t believe that current sanctions for racism are tough enough.
“For me I’m just like, make it super extreme so it’s damaging to the team, to the federation, so it’s damaging financially.”
Rapinoe on sexuality
“Eventually the environment will be different where you feel like you can come out…” said Rapinoe, reflecting on why so few male football players have talked publicly about their sexuality. “We’re trying to make it better and set the environment so when you are ready to come out, the environment is ready for you.”
“You can look like me and be gay. You can look like Sue and be gay. That gives people the confidence to be yourself…” said Rapinoe, speaking to the BBC. “I think that a lot of the time, the general stereotype is that being gay is harder; most people struggle with it or their family struggle with it. People say if you could do it again, you wouldn’t choose to be gay, you wouldn’t choose to have your life harder. Well, I disagree. I love being gay. I think it’s awesome. I hope us just living our lives the ways that we do, can start to show how positive it can be, not just for us, but for society and the health for us.”
Rapinoe on equal pay
“Don’t settle for anything less, go for equal, go for more, don’t accept any of these sort of antiquated and BS answers…” said Rapinoe, talking about her fight to secure equal pay for the women’s team. “Especially when it comes to sport there’s been such a lack of investment for such a long period of time, so any direct comparison to the men’s sports or the men’s leagues is just wholly unfair.”
“Until we have equal investment and over investment really, because we’ve been so underserved for so long, we’re not going to have any sort of meaningful conversation about compensation and revenues and TV viewership.”
“I know it’s frustrating and hard – at times you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall – but we’re sort of in it anyways. It’s a fact of life for us so we might as well fight like hell.”
Rapinoe has released her autobiography – One Life.
In her autobiography, Rapinoe reflects on protest, white privilege and the global development of women’s football.
“I want to keep playing…” says Rapinoe. “I’m definitely not anywhere near retirement – I absolutely want to play at the Olympics. After the Olympics, I’ll have to take a longer look at the next three years. We’re a year closer to the next World Cup and it’s pretty enticing.”