Meet Women’s Footballer of the Year nominee Megan Rapinoe

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February 21, 2020
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    BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2020: Megan Rapinoe profile

    We are profiling each of the five nominees for the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2020 award. You can vote for your winner on the BBC Sport website until Monday, 2 March at 09:00 GMT. The result will be revealed on Tuesday, 24 March on BBC World Service.

    Age: 34 Position: Forward Plays for: Reign FC and USA

    Achievements in 2019

    • Won World Cup for second time
    • Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner at World Cup
    • Named Best Fifa and Ballon d’Or winner

    Did you know?

    • Twin sister, Rachael, also played professionally
    • An advocate for numerous causes, including LGBTQ rights
    • Her partner is four-time Olympic champion and three-time WNBA champion basketball player Sue Bird

    In her own words

    Highlight of 2019?

    “Standing on the podium and lifting the World Cup trophy as joint-captain. It’s the iconic moment that you dream of. That’s what all this is all about. I’m getting a lot of accolades and success but it’s all down to them.”

    Heroes growing up?

    “The 1999 USA World Cup team blew up in all of our worlds, girls who played soccer at that time. They transcended sport. And Michael Jordan. He was my jam. I’m a big Bulls fan, such a swag about him.”

    Most impactful moment of your career?

    “I ruptured my ACL in 2015. I made it back for the Olympics but was terrible, I really shouldn’t have been on the roster, and the team didn’t do well. I wasn’t myself at all and was a shell of a player. With what I had to do to get back to my old self, I blew past where I ever was before. It was a pivotal moment.

    “Meeting Sue. She’s like Benjamin Button – I’m like, whatever she’s doing I’m going to do that, changing my training habits, eating habits, level of professionalism. Without all of that I’m definitely not in this position.”

    When have you been star struck?

    “I don’t normally geek out on stars but I love Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper. They’re political analysts so I totally geeked out on them. I love their shows. I think they’re both brilliant – total trailblazers in their own right.”

    Remaining ambitions?

    “I guess in a footballing sense, nobody’s ever had World Cup and Olympics back-to-back wins, so it’s very difficult for a reason. You know once you win a World Cup, there’s a million things you have to do – celebrating. You don’t have that moment after the World Cup where you’re like ‘I’m going to win the Olympics and like nothing else matters’. So that would be incredible.

    “In life, everything. Equal pay would be a really nice one. It’s the cherry on top if that happens. In general, continuing to push the game forward. I don’t think any female professional footballer has anything left to prove – it’s just everyone else figuring it out.”

    How was life growing up?

    “Middle school and high school were weird for me because I didn’t know I was gay and then as soon as I figured this out I was like – why didn’t someone tell me? Luckily I had sport. Getting into college I became myself. Getting into this team, whenever you’re elite as a woman you’re alone so to be able to grow up and mature on a team that has 23 women who are just as elite as you gives us space to build each other up, challenge each other. It’s normal to be big bold and wild – for us, it’s just normal. We are like this all the time, growing up and empowering each other.”

    Who would play you in a film?

    “Tilda Swinton – I hope. I don’t know if she can play football but I love her hair. She’s got swag, an interesting look.”

    If you are viewing this page on the BBC News app please click here to vote.


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