Megan has been open about her brother Brian's years of drug abuse, which included 16 years of prison time
The co-captain, 34, scored the opening goal in the 2-0 win over the Netherlands, and during a post-game interview paid tribute to her brother Brian, who is in recovery after years of drug abuse and imprisonment.
“Just one thing: Happy birthday, Brian. I love you so much,” Rapinoe said as she blew a kiss to the camera in an interview with Fox Soccer.
According to ESPN, Brian, 38, could not make the trip to France to witness his younger sister’s all-star performance because he is booked into a San Diego rehabilitative program that allows an inmate to finish the final 12 months of their sentence taking classes outside of prison.
Over the years, Megan has spoken about her brother’s struggles. He has served 16 years in prison for various offenses, and told ESPN he began using drugs at 12 and eventually became addicted to heroin. After he was incarcerated again in 2017, Brian had a breakthrough, largely due to his sister’s success.
“Look at all she’s done with her life — look at what you’ve done with yours,” he told ESPN he thought to himself.
“I want to make a difference. I want to be like Megan,” he added.
Ahead of Megan’s first World Cup game, Brian sent his sister a text. “Megs, breaks my heart that you couldn’t fly me out for an all-expenses-paid trip to France,” he wrote.
She jokingly replied: “Oh yeah, so sad I couldn’t pamper you for a month in France.”
Brian has now been clean for 18 months.
“My brother is special,” Rapinoe told ESPN of Brian.
“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.”