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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Rapinoe’s role changing as Americans prepare for World Cup qualifying

Known for her coveted victory at the 2019 World Cup in France, Megan Rapinoe’s on-field role in the US national team is changing as the team looks to qualify for the 2023 event.

Willie Winger is now 36 and is believed to be a bit slow. Off the field, though, Rapinoe is as outspoken as ever.

“I think I’m really enjoying being back here and appreciating and appreciating this moment and appreciating where I’ve been and how far I’ve come, and just all those People who are with me and on this journey forever,” she said. “I don’t know, I feel really present in this moment.”

Rapinoe is among the veterans who will play in the upcoming CONCACAF W Championships starting Monday in Monterrey, Mexico. The tournament, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, as well as a berth at the 2024 Olympics, determines the field’s four direct venues at next summer’s World Cup.

The team has had a slew of new faces since winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Games, including Sophia Smith, Ashley Sanchez, Alana Cook, Mallory Pugh and up-and-comer Trinity Rodman.

“The thing with Megan is that she’s very important to this group. I mean, obviously, it’s a youth group that we’re bringing in. There are a lot of young players. So her experience is going through adversity. His knowledge and understanding, going through tough times and reaching the top, his mindset – the winning mindset – is very valuable to the group,” said American coach Vlatko Andonovsky.

Rapinoe has scored 62 goals with 72 assists in 189 appearances with the national team since his first call-up in 2006. He scored on a penalty kick in the United States’ victory over the Netherlands in the 2019 World Cup final, scoring two goals. Goal in victory over Australia for bronze medal in Tokyo last summer.

But the way she was afraid to use her voice and her platform to draw attention to issues of social justice. As a lesbian woman, she has been particularly passionate about LGBTQ issues. But she was also instrumental to the team’s success in achieving equal pay with the men’s national team.

She backed up her words with action: She was shocked to take a knee before two national team matches in 2016, in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, during the national anthem to draw attention to racial injustice. Kneeled down.

She was among athletes who signed an amicus brief in a lawsuit challenging an Idaho law that banned transgender athletes from participating in school sports.

He flirted with former President Trump on social media while in France at the 2019 World Cup. She announced that she would not go to the White House even if invited and Trump responded on Twitter: “Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House or our flag, especially since so much to her and the team.” Has been done.”

And after the recent Supreme Court ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade, she was one of the most prominent athletes to condemn the decision to roll back abortion rights.

This week, Rapinoe will join a diverse group of 17 people, including gymnast Simone Biles and actor Denzel Washington, to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour.

Although Rapinoe is currently in Mexico with the team, she will be leaving briefly on Thursday to attend the ceremony in Washington DC

“I just see it as a validation of everything I stood for, not verification for me, but it is a validation of LGBTQI-plus rights. It is a validation of the Black Lives Matter movement and the white supremacist power structure we have in place. It’s a validation of the movement against women’s rights and equal pay and abortion rights and trans rights and everything that I and so many others work so hard for.”

Rapinoe spoke to reporters shortly after receiving the award, hoping it had given others a roadmap for activism in their lives.

“For whatever reason, I feel comfortable being front and center. I think there’s a little bit of flourish in it. So, if I can help other people walk in that, step into their power, understanding that you don’t have to be me to make a difference. You can make a difference in your family, in your community, in your school and in your workplace, whatever it may be.

“I hope to be able to set a good example for adults and children alike that it is never wrong to use your voice and stand up for what is right.”


More Associated Press Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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