The World Cup is the biggest soccer tournament in the world, and it is one of the few times when many Americans watch soccer. The Women’s World Cup is currently underway, and the U.S. team is in the semifinals. They have eyes on repeating after winning the title in 2015 when the women’s tournament was last played.
There is a breakout star on the U.S. team. Megan Rapinoe has jumped out as the featured player for America, and one of the top women in the tournament. But what do we know about her outside of her incredible performance?
Who is Megan Rapinoe?
Rapinoe is a 33-year-old California native who is playing in her third Women’s World Cup. She helped the U.S. team finish in second place in 2011 and win the 2015 tournament. Rapinoe also helped lead the U.S. to gold in the women’s soccer competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
She took up soccer at the age of three when her older brother, who she idolized, started playing the sport. She continued playing throughout high school and college, at the University of Portland.
Megan Rapinoe suffers multiple ACL tears
Rapinoe has been forced to change her playing style over the years due to suffering ACL tears on three separate occasions since 2006. Her most recent ACL tear occurred in late 2015 when she was training for a Victory Tour match, which was intended to help celebrate the U.S. Women’s National Team World Cup championship that year. The injuries have sapped her of her speed, but that was never the hallmark of her game.
Megan Rapinoe in the 2019 Women’s World Cup
Rapinoe is leading the American team in goals through the quarterfinal match against the host team from France. She scored a goal in the squad’s opening match against Thailand, which ended up being a 13-0 thrashing for the U.S. team.
She then scored both American goals in a 2-1 victory in their knockout match against Spain. Rapinoe again scored both goals in the 2-1 triumph over France in the quarterfinal round.
When asked her feelings about having to play the host team in the Round of 8, Rapinoe reveled in the challenge, saying that she was looking forward to a “total shit-show circus” of a spectacle against the team playing in its homeland.
Megan Rapinoe’s international career
The two goals Rapinoe scored against France in the quarterfinals were Nos. 48 and 49 of her international career. A career that began with her first two goals in a friendly against Chinese Taipei back on Oct. 1, 2006.
She scored three goals in the 2012 Olympics, and she now has eight goals in her World Cup career. More are possible as the American team plays England in the semifinal. With a win in that game, the women would continue on to play the winner of Netherlands-Sweden in the final.
Controversy surrounding Megan Rapinoe
While Rapinoe is a decorated athlete and has become America’s breakout star in this year’s World Cup, she is not without controversy. She stood in silence during the national anthem at the 2015 World Cup. Then she took a knee during the anthem at an international match in September 2016, which she said was to show solidarity for Colin Kaepernick doing the same in the NFL.
More recently, Rapinoe made headlines for some words she has exchanged with President Trump. Yahoo published comments she made in which she described the president as “sexist,” “misogynistic,” and “small-minded” among other things. She has also called herself “a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration” because of “everything I stand for.”
President Trump has shown dissatisfaction with Rapinoe staying silent during the national anthem. When asked if he thought her silence was appropriate, President Trump said, “no. I don’t think so.”