Megan Rapinoe during the Women’s World Cup final in France, between the United States and the Netherlands, on July 7, 2019, in Lyon. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Sunday August 6, 2023. The referee has just whistled the end of extra time, the scoreboard at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia, still projects 0-0. The outcome of the round of 16 of the Women’s World Cup between the United States and Sweden will be decided on penalties. When Megan Rapinoe advanced in front of the Scandinavian goalkeeper, the Stars and Stripes, defending champions, still had control of the match: they scored three penalties, their rivals missed one. The number 15 is no longer an indisputable starter, but she remains a sure value for the team.
The player faces Zecira Musovic, rushes and shoots. His ball flies past the crossbar. Shortly after, the United States will be eliminated. The epilogue is bitter: “It looks like a bad joke, a bad movie”will summarize the person concerned, who had not missed such a duel since 2018. The native of Redding (California), 38 years old, has just played her last international match in competition.
Before the start of the World Cup, the player announced that she would hang up her boots at the end of 2023. Sunday September 24, she will be entitled to a final last stand during a friendly match against South Africa. South, at Soldier Field in Chicago (Illinois), his 203rd selection with the Stars and Stripes. The opportunity for the American federation (US Soccer) to pay tribute to “one of the most iconic players in American soccer history, whose impact off the field is matched only by her historic success between the lines [de ce dernier] ».
“A traveling demonstration”
Megan Rapinoe’s track record speaks for her: Olympic champion in 2012, four global campaigns, including two coronations, the Golden Boot – which rewards the top scorer – and the title of best player of the 2019 World Cup, best FIFA player and Golden Ball the same year, co-captain of the national team from 2018 to 2020… To date, she has scored 63 goals and provided 73 assists for the selection.
But Rapinoe is much more than this footballer capable of destabilizing opposing defenses with her acceleration or delivering the right pass at the right time. The Californian is a leader on and off the field. A face and a voice of the fight against discrimination and the fight for equality. “A traveling demonstration”as she likes to describe herself.
Also read the portrait (2019): Article reserved for our subscribers Megan Rapinoe, strong head and megaphone
Rapinoe knows her activism is inseparable from her success on the pitch: “Without winning, you don’t have all those microphones. Without victory (…)you don’t have the media, you don’t have the looks, you don’t have the fans, you don’t have the opportunity to say what you want all the time”she recalled on the sidelines of the Australian World Cup. “His genius lies in the fact that his political commitments, his public persona and his style of play are one”, wrote The Atlanticin June 2019.
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