The U.S. star had a widely publicized row with the President, but feels she has come out ahead by effecting positive change
Megan Rapinoe has had a summer to remember.
She has won a World Cup, along with the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot for the competition, locking in her legacy as one of the all-time greats of women’s soccer.
There have also been memorable moments off the field, most notably her claiming she wasn’t “going to the f**king White House” and an angry response from U.S. President Donald Trump, in which he criticized her for being disrespectful to the flag and the country.
Trump also implored her to win before talking.
Rapinoe has done that now, and despite the harsh words from one of the world’s leaders, thinks the spat with the ever-aggressive Trump will be a good thing in the long run.
“Honesty, I see it as a positive thing,” she said in an appearance on ESPN alongside team-mate Alex Morgan. “I think when it was happening we did keep a really tight bubble and the whole group was so supportive of me, but it did feel positive in a way.
“Obviously, I think the tweets were negative in tone as he usually does, but I think we just even more so realized in that moment we’re so much more than what we are on the field. And I think this team really understands and is so prideful that we do carry with us other people when we step out on the pitch.
“It’s the game of course and we want to win, but knowing the impact that we have already had and knowing the impact that we were going to have when we came home, the motivation of just that alone is incredible. I really feel like we do this for our group, for ourselves, for our team, for our staff, for our friends and family and for everyone. I think we always want to try to bring more people into the conversation. We want to have the conversation, we want to open it up to everyone.
“I think obviously we are very lucky to wear the shirt and represent America in a way that no team really does. We’re very lucky to play all types of games all year long and I think we do an incredible job of representing every American.”
It’s also clear that Rapinoe will continue to push for social justice. Following the USWNT’s win on Sunday, she called for changes from FIFA and U.S. Soccer in the pay structure of soccer, where women at the highest level are paid far less than their male counterparts.
“Everyone’s asking what’s next and what we want to come all of this – it’s to stop having the conversation about equal pay and are we worth it,” Rapinoe said immediately following the match, before calling on both FIFA president Gianni Infantino and U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro to step up and address the issue.
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“What are we going to do about it? Gianni, what are we going to do about it? Carlos, what are we going to do about it? Everyone. It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work.”
She was no less adamant in Tuesday’s interview, claiming that her and the rest of the USWNT want to be at the forefront of positive change.
“We want to change the world,” she said. “We want to change the way that people look at us, that people look at young girls, that people look at young boys. We want to change the game forever.”