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End of an Era for Megan Rapinoe, the “All-American Hero”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

Since 2006, Megan Rapinoe has been making history both on and off the field. Starting her international soccer career at only 21 years old, she had an impressive career that generations to come will look up to. Not only has she gone to multiple major World Cups and Olympics, but she was a leading figure in the fight for equal pay. Even though her on-field career might be coming to an end, her contributions to soccer are far from over. 

On Sept. 24, Rapinoe played her final 50 minutes with the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) against South Africa. She played a vital part in the game, though unable to gain a goal herself. Yet, in the final minute, Rapinoe made an important corner kick that the South African goalie failed to clear, which allowed Emily Sonnett to make the header goal off the rebound, making the final score 2-0 and helping the team win both friendlies of the weekend. This was one of the last amazing contributions Rapinoe would make for the USWNT, as she was then subbed out at the 54-minute mark for Midge Purce. 

Rapinoe is ending her international career with an impressive 203 caps, two World Cup wins, being a three-time Olympian, among so many other accomplishments on her resume. She helped her team win the 2022 Concacaf W Championship qualifying them for the 2023 World Cup and 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. Not only is she a true team player with 73 international assists, but an impressive goal scorer with a total of  63 international goals. This skill helped her to win the Golden Boot in the 2019 World Cup along with the Golden Ball. This wasn’t the end of her awards that year, however, as she also earned the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, France Football Ballon d’Or as well as the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year. 

Although her on-field career is outstanding, what she accomplished off the field is possibly even more admirable. For as long as the USWNT has existed, they haven’t seen remotely equal pay to what the US Men’s Team was making for their contribution. The USWNT being four-time World Cup winners, wanted to see an equal payout to what the USMNT did, as they were making more while having never won a World Cup. The USMNT has only ever placed 3rd once — in 1930. Even though all the hard work was put in by the USWNT to win the 2019 World Cup, they still weren’t seeing the proper pay outcome like the USMNT was. This issue led to lobbying and lawsuits from Rapinoe and various other players toward the federation itself, which finally led to change in 2022. The federation would change toward a 50/50 split, in which men’s and women’s teams would get an equal payout for their contributions to the US National teams.  

While these changes were needed, Rapinoe would still like to see more. She mentioned to NPR, “A collective bargaining agreement is just words on paper. It doesn’t actually make anyone do anything. It’s the enforcement on both sides that actually makes that happen.” There are important changes that still need to happen in the overall US soccer system such as equal treatment of teams and needs to be improved further. One example is that the prize money for the Women’s and Men’s World Cups is still not the same, though FIFA is allegedly looking to have equal winnings for the 2026 Men’s World Cup and 2027 Women’s World Cup.

 Megan Rapinoe is truly an “All-American Hero,” whether it be winning World Cups, winning the Medal of Freedom, or fighting for equal rights. She has had a career with legendary achievements that will go on to change soccer for women and girls around the world. Rapinoe’s final regular season NWSL game with the OL Reign is on Oct. 15, ending her remarkable career.

Maureen Corrigan is a chapter member of Her Campus at Pace chapter. She covers areas such as music, tv, pop culture to even personal experiences. She has been writing for Her Campus at Pace since the start of her sophomore year. Outside of Her Campus Maureen is a senior at Pace University with Communications and Media Studies major and a minor in Digital Media Studies. She is also a member of the Pforzheimer Honors College at Pace and was previously on the marketing team as a content creator. Aside from Pace University and school work, Maureen has worked as a PR and Marketing intern at the buyer to buyer re-commerce startup Bulkk.io. When Maureen isn’t in school or interning she can be found absorbing all kinds of media, spending time outside, working at farmers markets, among other things. She is a big music fan, especially Taylor Swift and Fletcher. Maureeen is a frequent attendee of concerts around New York City attending as many as possible, most recently including Sawyer. She is also oftentimes watching women's soccer whether it be watching WSL from the comfort of her home or even going to watch NY/NJ Gotham NWSL games in person.