Megan Rapinoe – Biography, Age, & Career

Megan Rapinoe is an American soccer champion and activist who has won two World Cup titles and an Olympic gold medal.

Who Is Megan Rapinoe?

Megan Rapinoe is a star soccer player. In 2019 she won the Golden Boot for scoring the most goals at the World Cup and the Golden Ball for being the top player in the tournament. That year she was also named FIFA’s Women’s World Player of the Year. In addition to her two World Cup titles, Rapinoe is an Olympic gold medalist. She has a unique style that often includes eye-catching pink or purple hair and is known to strike a unique pose — widespread arms, head tossed back and proud grin — when successful on the field. Rapinoe was one of the first soccer players to announce she was gay and has spoken out about the need for racial justice, equal pay and LGBTQ+ rights. In October 2020, her engagement to WNBA star Sue Bird was announced. Rapinoe’s memoir, One Life, was published in 2020.

Early Life, Family and School

Megan Anna Rapinoe was born on July 5, 1985 in Redding, California, 11 minutes after her fraternal twin sister. Rapinoe grew up in the conservative town of Redding in northern California. Her mother, Denise, is a waitress. Her father, Jim, worked as a contractor.

Rapinoe grew up as the youngest of six. Her twin sister Rachael also excelled at soccer through college. Though Rachael did not reach the very highest level of the sport alongside Rapinoe, the two remain close.

Early Soccer Career

Around the age of 5, Rapinoe and her twin sister followed in their older brother’s footsteps and began playing soccer. The two turned out to be gifted players. Because there were no girls’ teams where they lived, they first joined a boys’ soccer team.

Rapinoe attended Foothill High School where she ran track and played basketball in addition to soccer. While in high school, Rapinoe hoped her soccer skills would earn her a college scholarship, which the University of Portland ended up providing. She also played for U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 youth team and delayed college enrollment to join the Under-19 team.

Rapinoe began at the University of Portland in January 2005 and helped the school’s women’s soccer team win the NCAA Division I Championship that year. In 2006, she played with the U.S. women’s national team. She also remained part of the University of Portland’s team, though ACL injuries to her left knee took her out of action in 2006 and 2007.

National and International Soccer

Rapinoe, who plays forward, rejoined the U.S. women’s national team in 2009. In 2011, she participated in her first World Cup. She amazed the world during one match by sending the ball on a breathtaking cross-field journey to teammate Abby Wambach, who then scored and tied the game just before the clock ran out. Though the U.S. women lost the World Cup final in 2011, Rapinoe was there when they won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Besides playing on the national team, Rapinoe was brought into different soccer clubs. She joined the Chicago Red Stars in 2009, and in 2011 played with the Philadelphia Independence, magicJack and Australia’s Sydney FC. In 2013 see played in France with Olympique Lyonnais. By 2014 Rapinoe returned to the National Women’s Soccer League and was playing with OL Reign in Washington state.

In 2015, Rapinoe and the U.S. women’s team won that year’s World Cup. She suffered an ACL injury in her right knee in December 2015, but still became part of the Olympic team in 2016. However, the U.S. women didn’t medal at those Games.

Rapinoe was co-captain when the U.S. women again headed to the World Cup in 2019. During the event, she became headline news following the release of a video, made months earlier, in which she declared that even if the team won and received an invitation, “I’m not going to the f—–g White House.” Then-President Donald Trump responded with taunts on Twitter, but the resulting pressure didn’t disrupt Rapinoe’s game. She scored two goals in the next quarterfinal match and led the team to World Cup victory. Afterward Rapinoe was true to her word and avoided the White House.

The 2020 Olympic Games were delayed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When the Games took place in Japan in 2021, Rapinoe was part of the Olympic team.

Rapinoe has not set a date for her retirement from soccer. “I want to play as long as possible,” she said in a 2021 interview. “I don’t want to cut it short.”

Fight for Equal Pay

Male soccer players in the United States often make more money than women, though the women’s national team has been more successful. As a result, Rapinoe and others have battled for equal pay. In 2016, she and four other teammates filed a federal labor complaint against U.S. Soccer for wage discrimination.

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