26 September 2023

Who is Megan Rapinoe? Ten fascinating facts about the departing US soccer legend

26 September 2023

Megan Rapinoe, the indomitable spirit of the United States women's football team, has captured millions of hearts with her unrivalled skill, brazen confidence and steady commitment to social causes.

After bringing down the curtain on her international career at the weekend following the USA's 2-0 win over South Africa in Chicago, she said: "It has been really wonderful, to hear all the nice things, to have a closure moment, to play in front of a big crowd again.

"I'll miss it forever. I don't think I'll ever be at a moment where it will feel perfect but this is pretty close."

Even as one of the most notable female footballers globally, there is much more to Rapinoe than what you see on the football pitch. Here, we take a look at some of the highs and lows of her reign as the First Lady of US soccer.

1. Born on July 5, 1985, in Redding, California, Megan Rapinoe is among the leading figures in women's football. Tied at the hip to her fraternal twin, Rachael, the two began charting their sports careers on the same youth teams, leading them to play at the University of Portland together.

2. Rapinoe is an outspoken advocate for social equality. An openly gay woman, she is at the forefront of advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights, using her platform to address these issues and not shying away from discussing her own personal experiences.

3. She famously rejected a White House visit to meet Donald Trump following the 2019 Women's World Cup victory, indicating her political beliefs. This act resonated with many and further revealed her conviction to stand against what she perceives as social oppression.

U.S. President Joe Biden hosted U.S. women's national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe and teammate Margaret Purce at the White House on Wednesday as part of his push to secure better pay for American women, who earn 82 cents on average for every dollar earned by men.

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4. Rapinoe is an Olympic Gold medalist and a FIFA Women's World Cup champion. She gained glory in the 2012 London Olympics and recorded a memorable victory during the 2019 Women's World Cup, where she was awarded the Golden Boot and Golden Ball.

5. Rapinoe attracted global attention for 'taking the knee' during the national anthem at an international match in September 2016 in solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick.6. Known for her signature pink-purple hair, Rapinoe's bold style is a reflection of her assertive personality - one that has helped her make a mark on and off the field.

7. Rapinoe was instrumental in leading a legal fight against US Soccer with her fellow teammates over gender discrimination in March 2019. Their collective efforts led to a monumental settlement in 2021, earning the team significant improvements in their working conditions and compensation.

8. Throughout her career, Rapinoe has always used her visibility to support various social causes. In 2020, she co-launched a lifestyle brand, Re—Inc, to challenge the status quo in fashion and culture, focusing on inclusivity and equality.

9. Rapinoe has a keen interest in music and is a self-confessed fan of the iconic British band, The Rolling Stones. In her words, she sees Mick Jagger as a 'style icon'.

10. In 2021, she published her memoir, "One Life," providing a deep insight into her journey and her raison d'être, positioning herself as more than an athlete.

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