Megan Rapinoe, 38, burst onto the global stage at the 2011 World Cup in Germany when she scored a screamer against Colombia and celebrated by grabbing an on-field microphone placed near the corner flag and crooning Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”. A star was born.
Since then, the iconic 5’6” neon-haired winger has won gold at the London 2012 Olympics, bronze at the Tokyo 2020 games and both the 2015 and 2019 FIFA World Cups as an integral part of the US Women’s National Team (USWNT).
She was named player of the tournament at her last World Cup in France four years ago after scoring six – including a spotkick in the final against the Netherlands – and picked up both the Golden Boot and that year’s Ballon d’Or Feminin.
Rapinoe also caused a major political stir back home when she was caught on tape declaring “I’m not going to the f***ing White House” in the event that her side secured the trophy, expressing her disdain for the divisive policies of then-president Donald Trump and advising her teammates to “think hard” before accepting any honours from his administration.
She has since continued to use her celebrity to campaign for LGBT+ rights causes and for equal pay for women, speaking on that issue at 1600 Pennsylvania at the invitation of Trump’s successor, Joe Biden.
As a player, this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand marks Megan Rapinoe’s last hurrah as she has announced her retirement at the end of the coming season. She arrives in the southern hemisphere having made 199 appearances for the USWNT, scoring 63.
Rapinoe was born in Redding, California, on 5 July 1985, one of five children including a twin sister, Rachael, who was also a professional footballer. Her brother Brian first turned his sisters on to the sport and Megan has since spoken movingly about his subsequent battle with drugs and struggle to stay out of prison.
As a teenager in high school, Rapinoe played for Elk Grove Pride in Sacramento before enrolling at the University of Portland in Oregon, where she proved herself a prolific goalscorer for the Portland Pilots. Turning professional thereafter, her club career has taken her from the Chicago Red Stars and Philadelphia Independence to the short-lived MagicJack team in Boca Raton, Florida, to Sydney FC in Australia, the Seattle Sounders and to Olympique Lyonnais in France.
Get all the latest Women’s World Cup odds here
Since 2013, she has played for OL Reign in Tacoma, Washington, favouring the US Pacific Northwest region as her partner Sue Bird, retired basketball superstar, plied her trade nearby for Seattle Storm.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies