Megan Rapinoe Biography: In Her Own Words – News, Video, Photo
Megan Rapinoe is an American professional soccer player and activist. She is the current captain of the OL Reign professional team and co-captain of the United States national team, which she’s played on since 2005. She’s competed in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup (second place), 2012 London Summer Olympics (gold), the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup (gold), the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (gold) and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (bronze). Rapinoe is well-known for her staunch social and political views. The athlete is included in Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
MEGAN RAPINOE BIOGRAPHY: AGE, EARLY LIFE, FAMILY, EDUCATION
Megan Rapinoe was born on July 5, 1985 (age: 36), in Redding, California. Her parents, Jim and Denise, raised five children in total. Rapinoe has an older sister, two older brothers, and a fraternal twin sister Rachael Rapinoe.
Growing up, Rapinoe idolized her older brother Brian. At age 15, however, Brian was sent to juvenile detention and spent the following years in and out of prison. Recently, Brian has made a concerted effort to get off drugs and turn his life around.
Rapinoe attended Foothill High School, where she competed on the track and basketball teams. She played soccer for Elk Grove Pride Club Team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League from 2002-2005. Rapinoe was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American team as a junior and a senior. In 2002, she was a member of the U-16 Women’s National Team. In 2004, she was named to the McDonald’s All-American Girls High School Soccer West Team. Rapinoe also played for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) throughout high school. The athlete played on the U-19 Women’s National Team from 2003 to 2004, competing in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championships in Thailand, where the United States finished third.
MEGAN RAPINOE BIOGRAPHY: COLLEGE CAREER
In 2005, both Rapinoe and her sister Rachael attended the University of Portland, Oregon on full soccer scholarships. Her freshman year, she led the Pilots to an undefeated season and the NCAA Division I Championship. She received several accolades that season, including NSCAA First Team All-American, Soccer America First Team Freshman All-America, and West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year among others.
Rapinoe began training with the U.S. national team in 2006. She played in her first game on July 23, 2006, in a friendly match against Ireland. She scored her first two goals in October in a friendly match against Taiwan.
In her sophomore year in 2006, Rapinoe was among the nation’s leading scorers when she suffered her first ACL injury during a match against Washington State University.
In her junior year (2007), Rapinoe suffered a second ACL injury during the second game of the season. Once again, she was forced to sit out the rest of the season.
Rapinoe returned for her senior season in 2008, scoring five goals and contributing 13 assists. Despite a year of eligibility remaining due to her many injuries, she entered the 2009 Women’s Professional Draft. She was selected second overall by the Chicago Red Stars for the inaugural season of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS).
MEGAN RAPINOE BIOGRAPHY: PROFESSIONAL CAREER
In her first year playing for the Red Stars, she started 17 out of 18 games, scored three goals, and had three assists. She was named to the league’s All-Star Team and played in the All-Star match against Swedish Damallsvenskan champions Umeå IK. Also in 2009, Rapinoe made her return to the women’s national team and started six out of seven games.
In December of 2010, Rapinoe signed with Philadelphia Independence.
While she was in Germany, she was traded to MagicJack, where she made eight appearances during the regular season and helped them advance to the final, where they lost to the Philadelphia Independence. MagicJack dissolved in 2011, leaving Rapinoe a free agent.
Also in 2011, Rapinoe was named to the roster of the United States national team for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Rapinoe scored in the team’s second group stage match against Columbia when she famously celebrated by grabbing an on-field microphone and singing Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born in the U.S.A.” In the quarterfinal match against Brazil, Rapinoe assisted Abby Wambach for the latest goal ever scored in a World Cup match. Rapinoe later helped the team in the penalty shootout, resulting in a victory for the United States. The athlete helped the United States in the championship game against Japan by assisting Alex Morgan for the first goal of the match, although they were ultimately defeated.
Rapinoe returned to the world stage for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, held in London. She scored three goals during the course of the tournament and contributed four assists. Two of the goals occurred during the semi-final match against Canada. One of the goals was scored directly from her corner kick, making Rapinoe the first and only player (male or female) to score an Olimpico in the Olympic Games. She later scored a second Olimpico in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The United States defeated Japan in the championship round to secure the gold.
After brief stints with the Australian W-League team Sydney FC and the Seattle Sounders, Rapinoe signed for six months with the French team Olympique Lyonnais in January of 2013. The team ultimately made it to the finals of the UEFA Women’s Championships League, losing to VfL Wolfsburg.
In January 2014, Rapinoe left Lyon and joined Seattle Reign FC, where she played alongside her national teammate Hope Solo. Rapinoe became the team’s top scorer and turned around their overall league record. She helped the team advance to the finals of the National Women’s Soccer League, where they played FC Kansas City. Rapinoe scored the only goal of the game for the Seattle Reign, and they ultimately lost 2-1. Rapinoe continues to play on Seattle Reign FC in the present day.
In 2015, Rapinoe participated in her second FIFA Women’s World Cup, this time in Canada. Rapinoe scored twice in the team’s first group stage match against Australia. The United States ultimately won the tournament after defeating Japan in a rematch game for the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.
Rapinoe re-joined the United States roster for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She contributed one goal in the infamous 13-0 win over Thailand during the group stage of the tournament. During the knockout stage, Rapinoe scored the United States’ two goals in their victorious match against Spain. Rapinoe scored another two goals in the quarterfinal match against France, earning them a spot in the semifinals. While forced to sit out the semifinals due to injury, Rapinoe returned in full force for the final match, scoring one of the United States’ two goals of the game and ensuring their second consecutive World Cup win. Rapinoe was awarded the Golden Boot for having scored the most goals in the tournament as well as the Golden Ball award for best player.
In the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Rapinoe scored twice in the 4-3 win against Australia in the bronze-medal match.
MEGAN RAPINOE BIOGRAPHY: INTERVIEW ON TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS
In April of 2021, Rapinoe and her teammates Becky Sauerbrunn and Crystal Dunn spoke during a media availability about the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and how COVID-19 had affected their preparation. The United States women’s national team had won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, setting the stakes high for the Olympics.
While for many athletes the delay of the Olympic Games due to COVID was difficult, Rapinoe had a different opinion.
“For us, this was a nice little silver lining, obviously, of COVID and the pandemic, just to have a year to rest,” she said. “Some players played a lot, went overseas, some players like myself took more time for themselves, time that we never really get to get our bodies right and just to have that break.”
Reflecting on the benefits of the delay of the games, Rapinoe revealed that, “I think of all the teams, we probably have the most benefit just because we would have been so tired, particularly after all the wildness of [the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup].”
Watch the full interview below.
MEGAN RAPINOE BIOGRAPHY: PERSONAL LIFE AND ACTIVISM
Rapinoe dated Australian soccer player Sarah Walsh for four years, beginning in 2009 and ending in 2013. She announced her engagement to Sub Pop recording artist Sera Cahoone in 2015. In January 2017, Rapinoe revealed that the wedding plans were on hold. In July 2017, Rapinoe and WNBA player Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm confirmed their relationship. The couple announced their engagement in October of 2020.
In September 2016, Rapinoe made headlines by kneeling during the national anthem in what she described as a nod to Colin Kaepernick‘s protests. Rapinoe stated that, as a member of the LGBTQ community, she has experienced firsthand what it means to have the American flag not protect all of one’s liberties.
In 2016, Rapinoe and four other women from the United States women’s national soccer team filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing the United States Soccer Federation of wage discrimination. A judge ultimately ruled against the female players. Rapinoe was one of the 27 US women’s soccer team players in 2019 to file a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation accusing it of gender discrimination – specifically, unequal pay. A judge dismissed the claims of unequal wages but trial remains ongoing on the claims of discriminatory work conditions.
Rapinoe has been involved with various LGBTQ rights organizations, namely the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSE) and Athlete Ally.
in 2017, Rapinoe and teammate Morgan were the first two women players to sign up for Juan Matta‘s Common Goal campaign, in which players donate one percent of their individual wages to soccer-related charities.
Rapinoe publically endorsed Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries. She also hosted a panel during the 2020 Democratic National Convention alongside frontline workers of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In November 2020 Rapinoe published her autobiography One Life.
MEGAN RAPINOE BIOGRAPHY: INTERVIEW ON SOCIAL JUSTICE
In April 2021, Rapinoe spoke extensively at Olympic Media Summit about her opinions on recent events in the sports world as well as the responsibilities of athletes when it comes to social justice. Speaking about the MLB’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s restrictive new voting laws, Rapinoe emphasized the power of athletics to influence the political landscape.
“Athletes are in a very unique position in this country that is obsessed with sports… that looks to us for a lot of role-modelings, not just for kids but for adults, as well as sort of puts athletes on this pedestal all the time,” Rapinoe explained.
“So many athletes have sort of taken that responsibility on themselves, knowing the influence that we can have,” she went on. “I think [it is] really inspiring, and I think it’s made a huge difference in the country, to be honest. It changes hearts and minds.”
Rapinoe, who herself is a member of the LGBTQ community and a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights and awareness, mentioned how intersectionality among athletes is one of the reasons they have a special power in the public sphere.
“Athletes are from every cross-section of life, at every single intersectionality. I think we have a unique power in our voice, and a unique perspective, knowing that we can represent just about anyone in the country.”
Catch the full interview below.
Megan Anna Rapinoe
Date of Birth
July 5, 1985
Foothill High School; University of Portland
Engaged to Sue Bird
Jim Rapinoe (father), Denise Rapinoe (mother), Rachael Rapinoe (twin sister), Brian Rapinoe (brother)
Runners Up in 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Gold Medal in 2012 London Summer Olympics
Champions in 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Champions in 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Bronze Medal in 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics
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