Megan Rapinoe has become the face of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. The forward scored six goals in the tournament including a dramatic penalty kick in the final. She won the Golden Boot as the tournament's top scorer and the Golden Ball as the top player. Her celebration following her first goal in the quarterfinal match against France has become meme-worthy.
In addition to mixing it up on the pitch, she's been a voice on issues of racial and social injustice and has even started mixing it up with President Donald Trump.
Here are some things to know about Megan Rapinoe.
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She was almost an Independence Day baby. Rapinoe turned 34 on July 5, 2019. She grew up in Redding, Calif.
Her last name is pronounced ruh-PEE-noe, not RAP-in-oh.
Rapinoe played at the University of Portland in Oregon with her twin sister, Rachael. Rapinoe majored in sociology.
Rapinoe has 158 appearances for the U.S. team and has scored 50 career goals. She won an Olympic gold medal in 2012 and now has World Cup trophies from 2015 and 2019.
When not playing for the U.S., she's living in the Seattle area while playing for the Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League.
Rapinoe showed solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick by taking a knee during the national anthem before Reign and U.S. soccer matches. U.S. Soccer later made a rule that players must stand for the anthem. Rapinoe has done so, but without putting her hand over her heart or singing the anthem.
Rapinoe's girlfriend is basketball great Sue Bird of the WNBA's Seattle Storm. The Seattle Times reports they hit it off in Rio during the 2016 Olympics although they previously interacted in the Seattle sports scene. According to the U.S. soccer website, dating Bird has helped Rapinoe improve her diet and training habits, making her "probably the fittest and most in shape she’s been in her career."
Rapinoe and Bird were the first same-sex couple to appear on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue in 2018.
Rapinoe has frequently spoken out about politics and has criticized the Trump administration and its policies in the past. In a video excerpt of a January interview which recently was posted to social media, Rapinoe told a magazine "I'm not going to the (expletive) White House" and expressed doubts the team would even be invited.
Trump called out Rapinoe in response and said he would invite the team whether or not it won the World Cup.
Rapinoe doubled down.
"Considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have, in using it for good and for leaving the game in a better — and hopefully the world in a better place — I don't think that I would want to go," she said during a World Cup press conference, "and I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn't feel the same way, doesn't fight for the same things that we fight for."
Rapinoe has also been one of the leaders in calling on the U.S. Soccer Federation to increase pay for the women's team to be equal with the men's team.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.