Hamstring injury or not, this is Megan Rapinoe’s year! Decade! Millennium!
OK, OK, I’ll calm down, but as the US Women’s National Team takes on the Netherlands in the final game this Sunday of the Women’s World Cup in France, we can’t but help to root for our home team, and especially Rapinoe, who has become a stronghold on the team since she joined in 2011.
Heading into the 2019 tournament, she told Out in April that she was concerned about facing off against Germany, France, and Japan, but here they are in the final, blasting away the competition that came from Thailand, Spain, the French team with a home-field advantage, and finally England. Rapinoe’s among the top goal-earners throughout the tournament and scored not one but two goals on June 28, which happened to also be the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
“Go gays!” the Lavender Menace-haired player declared according to the New York Times. “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team. It’s never been done before. That’s science right there.” Someone get a peer review on that because it sounds like science to us.
Rapinoe was nursing a hamstring injury during the semifinal against France on Wednesday, but the team secured its spot on Sunday in the final, where she plans to play, according to Deadspin. There they will vie for America’s fourth World Cup title (yes, all of America since our men’s team has never won a World Cup title. *cough*).
In addition to the incredible work on the field Rapinoe has done, the captain has also been a leader in every sense off the field. Rapinoe came out in 2012 — not so long ago, right? But it was a full year before 2013, when a wave of athletes — a handful of them including professionals like Robbie Rogers, Olympic diver Tom Daley, WNBA player Brittney Griner, and her USWNT teammate Abby Wambach — came out. She’s become a champion for LGBTQ+ organizations like the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Athlete Ally.
She’s part of the team-wide legal challenge to get the US Women’s National Team paid at the same rate as their male counterparts. She stands (er, kneels) for what she believes in as she continues the protest started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick by taking a knee during the national anthem before every game to raise awareness about police brutality and racial inequality. Then she (and her equally athletically gifted girlfriend Sue Bird) insisted she was definitely not going to the White House, whether or not the president invited the women’s team.
That, of course, has greatly annoyed President Donald Trump, who has taken to Twitter to rail against her. What a shock.
While her injury definitely sets her back for anything like a Golden Boot (which is awarded based on scoring), Rapinoe has shown throughout the World Cup that she is a force to watch. The Golden Ball goes to the best player in the final game. We have no idea how she’ll play on Sunday, but honestly Rapinoe should get it anyway.