Dave ClarkReign FC

Reign FC Legend: Megan Rapinoe

Dave ClarkReign FC
Reign FC Legend: Megan Rapinoe

The Legends Campaign, a partnership between Reign FC and Avanade, honors women for their extraordinary contributions in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Prior to Reign FC’s September 18 match against Utah Royals FC, Reign FC will recognize forward Megan Rapinoe as a Reign FC Legend.

Rapinoe is currently one of the game’s most visible superstars, following the United States’ Women’s National Team’s record-breaking campaign at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The two-time World Cup winner and Olympic Gold Medalist won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer, the Golden Ball as its best overall player, and is currently a finalist for The Best FIFA Women’s Player of the year award.

Rapinoe has also demonstrated a tremendous commitment to supporting charitable endeavors off the field. She has partnered with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Seattle-area Boys & Girls Clubs and the ACLU. The Redding, California native also helped set up a fundraiser for victims of the 2018 Carr Fire that devastated several communities.

An openly gay athlete, Rapinoe has also worked closely with LGBTQ+ charities and organizations, including the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and Athlete Ally, a nonprofit that aims to end homophobia and transphobia in sports.

Rapinoe has also used her platform to advocate for equal pay from U.S. Soccer for members of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Rapinoe filed a joint suit (along with Reign FC teammate Allie Long, among others) against the federation on March 8 alleging discrimination.

On whether the lawsuit against U.S. Soccer will be a major moment for this generation of USWNT players:

It’s certainly going to be a hallmark push for this generation. I would love to say that we’ll get it to a place that the players after us don’t have to deal with this, but I don’t think that we’re there yet. I’m sure they’ll have to go through their battles, but hopefully we leave them with as much of the path cleared as possible to put them in the best possible position that we can. I think we feel a responsibility to do that. Not only for the next generation but knowing what others have done before us to put us in a position to do what we’re doing now. It feels very much in keeping with the legacy of the team and the thread that’s always been there.

On the responsibility of athletes to use their platform for to advocate for change:

My personal ethos is that everybody has a responsibility to try to make the world the best place it can be. If you’re a lawyer, maybe you donate some of your time. If you’re a journalist, you’re writing a story that needs to be written. I have this incredible platform. I’ve been very lucky to be on one of the most recognizable teams and to have this huge following. To not use that, to not give back, that’s selfish. And I don’t feel right about that.

On those who tell athletes not to speak up about social issues:

People call on athletes to be good role models and send the right message to kids. If you’re going to ask athletes to be a role model, you can’t then be upset when they’re role models. You can’t be upset when they speak out for what they feel is right.

On whether the members of the World Cup-winning squad have a duty to keep the conversation around equal pay going:

I don’t feel like it’s our responsibility to keep the conversation going any more than we already are. I don’t think we could bring it to a higher level than we’ve already brought it during the World Cup. I think it’s everybody else’s responsibility, be that media or anyone else, to continue the conversation and invest in women’s sports and women’s programs. I think it’s time that everyone else steps up. I think we’ve done pretty much everything that we could possibly do on or off the field to fight for our cause. To prove, 200 million times over, how much we’re worth it. I think we’re getting a little bit frustrated and just done with being the group that obviously is discriminated against and having to shoulder all of the burden to show to people that we’re worth it. I think it’s time that everyone else dives into the conversation now.

On the negative reactions to the team’s celebrations at the World Cup:

It’s only polarizing because we’re women. Period. That’s how I feel about that. I think that this team—as women, as female athletes—takes up space the way that no other female team really does, with the exception of very few female athletes like Serena Williams. We’re unapologetic in the way that we want to be. We know exactly who we are. We know where we are in terms of standing. We just won a world championship, so we’ll be taking up all the space. I found that ridiculous. Let us live.

On handling the constant press attention both on and off the pitch:

I think for us, it’s two things. We’re used to a lot of media attention all the time. We’re quite practiced at it, certainly more than any other team in the World Cup. And then, I feel like, we know exactly who we are. It’s not that we don’t give any f***s. It’s that we give all the f***s and that we truly care about everything. We take on so much off the field and we are very aware and proud of the place that we have, socially. We do things the right way. We’re respectful, we play the game the right way. We respect other teams. We respect ourselves. We respect the game and I think we truly do things the right way. When criticism comes about celebrations or this or that, whether on the field or off, we’re unfazed by it because we know it’s just noise. We know who we are as people and as a team. We’re comfortable in the space that we’re in.