News Live Scores
Women's World Cup

It’s her World Cup! Rapinoe becomes icon while winning on and off the field

21:12 BST 07/07/2019
Megan Rapinoe Women's World Cup 2019
The USWNT star took home the Golden Ball and Golden Boot in France, all while becoming a spokesperson for equality off the pitch

If it wasn’t already known before Sunday, then the World Cup final confirmed it: This was Megan Rapinoe’s tournament. 

The U.S. women’s national team winger was the star during the World Cup and on Sunday she demonstrated exactly how she’s become such a transcendent figure both on and off the pitch.

Rapinoe scored the winner from the spot in a 2-0 win over Netherlands in Lyon, and picked up the Golden Boot and Golden Ball after the game to complete a clean sweep of post-tournament hardware.

After the game, Rapinoe again showed her effervescent personality while eloquently calling for equality and speaking about how her team overcame obstacles both on and off the field.

As she was speaking, she admitted something we've long already known: she was in her element. 

“I love it. I do love it!” Rapinoe said about being in the spotlight. 

“Obviously getting to play at the highest level at a World Cup with the team like we have is just ridiculous but to be able to couple that with everything off the field and to back up all those words with performances and then back up all those performances with words, it’s just incredible.”

The 34-year-old has become an iconic figure at this World Cup as she’s sparred with U.S. President Donald Trump, defined herself as "uniquely and very deeply American,” and called out FIFA for giving short shrift to the women’s game, all while scoring six goals in seven games for the USWNT.

It was only fitting that on Sunday, Rapinoe would again deliver in the clutch as she buried a 61st-minute penalty.

“I think the bigger the spotlight the more she shines,” U.S. manager Jill Ellis said of Rapinoe. "I think the spotlights can burn people but for Megan they show what she is.”

After scoring the winning goal, Rapinoe continued her call for equality after fans chanted “equal pay” at FIFA president Gianni Infantino after the game.

“To have a full stadium in a foreign country, the movement is just swelling before our very eyes,” Rapinoe said of the chants. "This is what the people want, give the people what they want!

“It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work. This game has done so much for all of us. We put so much into it, I think it’s a testament to the quality on the field and I don’t think everything else is matching that.”

Ellis acknowledged after the game that Rapinoe is the ideal person to speak out about issues that go beyond the game on the field. 

“Megan was built for these moments – built to be a spokesperson for these moments. She speaks well, speaks from her heart. We need people in the game, to be honest, to call things as they are,” Ellis said. 

Clearly Rapinoe has become an outsized personality but her growing stature has not caused any disharmony within the locker room. Far from it. 

“She’s the best teammate someone could ask for,” U.S. forward Alex Morgan said. 

“She had an incredible tournament, so deserving of the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball. It’s just a testament to her self-confidence and her self-belief and the true person that she shows every single day with us.”

This tournament, Rapinoe has showed who she is on the pitch while speaking out about what she believes off of it. After her incredible run at this World Cup, it’s clear that the world is listening.