The soccer star is a political advocate who is "unfazed" by her critics
Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. women’s national soccer team co-captain that people can’t stop talking about is a force to be reckoned with — on-and-off the field.
While leading her team and helping the Americans advance to the final round of the Women’s World Cup in France, the striker has also found herself in hot water with President Donald Trump.
With the team’s current performance, they stand a great chance of securing the world title, which would place the team in line to visit Trump at the White House. But a recently released video with Eight By Eight magazine filmed in January revealed that Rapinoe, 33, has no intention of making the trip if the team is victorious.
“I’m not going to the f—ing White House,” Rapinoe told the publication. “No, I’m not going to the White House. We’re not going to be invited. I doubt it.”
Her protest had Trump running to Twitter, while Rapinoe continued to run goals for the World Cup.
Here’s everything to know about Rapinoe:
She’s helping to lead the U.S. women’s soccer team’s fight for equal pay.
Earlier this year — on the same day as International Women’s Day — the women’s national team filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The female athletes are seeking equal pay and treatment to their male counterparts, as well as damages, such as back pay.
Prior to filing this lawsuit, Rapinoe was also part of a group of players who filed a federal labor complaint against U.S. Soccer in 2016, claiming they’re paid just 40 percent as much as the men’s team players — despite generating tens of millions more in revenue.
She was one of the first white athletes to stand in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
When Kaepernick began to protest the national anthem in order to raise awareness about police misconduct and racial injustice in America by kneeling, he faced incredible backlash. Rapinoe was one of the first white players to publicly support and get behind Kaepernick’s protest.
Throughout this year’s World Cup tournament, Rapinoe has declined to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” with her teammates before each match, in solidarity with Kaepernick’s cause.
Following her comments about not visiting the White House, Trump attacked her for not singing the national anthem as well.
Her girlfriend is a WNBA player.
Rapinoe has been dating her girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird, for over two years now, after first getting to know each other more during the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics. Bird, who plays for the Seattle Storm, recently came to Rapinoe’s defense amid the public back-and-forth with Trump, writing a piece for The Player’s Tribune about how proud she was of her partner.
“Megan, man….. I’ll tell you what. You just cannot shake that girl,” Bird wrote about Rapinoe. “She’s going to do her thing, at her own damn speed, to her own damn rhythm, and she’s going to apologize to exactly NO ONE for it.”
“So when all the Trump business started to go down last week, I mean — the fact that Megan just seemed completely unfazed? It’s strange to say, but that was probably the only normal thing about it. It’s not an act with her,” Bird said.
The pair also became the first same-sex couple featured in ESPN’s Body Issue last year.
Her brother struggled with drug abuse for years — until Rapinoe inspired him to change.
While Rapinoe’s star status in the soccer world rose, her older brother Brian Rapinoe continued a decades-long cycle of drug abuse and imprisonment, the siblings recounted to ESPN in a recent interview.
But not long after getting re-incarcerated back in 2017, Brian had a breakthrough, explaining he thought to himself: “Look at all she’s done with her life — look at what you’ve done with yours.”
He told ESPN, “I want to make a difference. I want to be like Megan.”
Now been clean for 18 months and is taking classes as part of San Diego City College’s Male Community Reentry Program.
“My brother is special,” Rapinoe told ESPN of her brother. “He has so much to offer. It would be such a shame if he left this world with nothing but prison sentences behind him. To be able to have him out, and to play for him, and to have him healthy, with this different perspective that he has now: This is like the best thing ever.”