Soccer

Is U.S. Soccer Star Megan Rapinoe Planning a Return to Europe?

Playing in Europe might be the next step for U.S. Women's National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe.

Soccer star Megan Rapinoe had a year for the ages in 2019. As the captain of the dominant United States’ Women’s National Team, Rapinoe took the soccer world by storm with her leadership and play on the way to a World Cup title. Although the run of both she and the team was not without some off-the-field intrigue as well, Rapinoe became a fan favorite to those who may not watch American women’s soccer. Now, could Rapinoe soon be taking her talents overseas to Europe?

Megan Rapinoe’s amazing year

Rapinoe has always used her platform soapbox for issues that were greater than herself. From pay inequality to police violence against people of color, Rapinoe’s success at the World Cup only gave her a bigger audience. That is part of what made people love her. She is brash, talented, and not afraid to ruffle feathers on and off the soccer field. Her 2019 World Cup was her second, and she also won an Olympic gold medal for the USA. 

During her five-game World Cup run, Rapinoe scored six goals and three penalty shots, but her leadership of the tightly-knit group of athletes was well-documented as the team rose to power during the international tournament. Although the team faced better competition near the end, they dominated the early rounds of the tournament, including a 13-0 blowout over Thailand. 

Facing criticism

Playing in Europe might be the next step for U.S. Women's National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
Megan Rapinoe celebrates a win in the 2019 World Cup. | John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Megan Rapinoe and the team’s boisterous swagger and style were not without some naysayers, however. Some accused the team of being too in-your-face about their dominant performances instead of handling the wins with class. Even the President of the United States got involved, publicly shaming Rapinoe for her anthem protests and refusal to go to The White House if the team won.

In a sport that rarely draws attention in America, Megan Rapinoe and the U.S. Women’s National Team was the talk of the town. While news of Rapinoe’s next move may not have been that big months ago, now she has people wondering what is next for the winner of the 2019 FIFA’s Best award. 

The next chapter for Megan Rapinoe

A move to playing in Europe would not be the first for Rapinoe, although the context in which she is doing so is different. She previously spent a year in Australia with Sydney FC and two years with Olympique Lyonnais, a French club, before she found her current home in Washington with Reign FC. With her status as high as it has ever been, the midfielder may find herself with a lucrative new deal, and the best chance for that could be going back overseas. 

Rapinoe has previously spoken about her love of Barcelona, which makes the club an ideal candidate for her if she chooses to go overseas. However, if it is up to some of Barcelona’s greatest rivals, according to NBC Sports, she will have some hefty offers aimed at keeping her away from the Spanish club. Real Madrid is taking over the Deportivo Tacon team and hoping to rebrand as the first Real Madrid’s women’s team, and what better way to do so than with the current face of women’s soccer?

Still, with Barcelona’s illustrious history, a trio of superstars (Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Antoine Griezmann), and an internationally renowned name to help lure her over. 

The future is now

Regardless of what Megan Rapinoe does, she has risen to a status that few women’s soccer players have. She has made it clear that she will play by her own rules, and it is not ridiculous to think that she will continue to do so as she decides on her next chapter. Wherever she goes, be it stateside or overseas, the team will be getting a veteran superstar who comes with tons of swagger, an elite skillset, and a leadership ability that is sure to reflect positively on their club.