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A Look At Megan Rapinoe’s Legacy

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

I remember watching the Women’s World Cup in 2019. Watching those women perform how they did could move me to tears over and over again. A standout player in 2019 was none other than world champion Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe announced this year that she would play in her final World Cup this past summer. After the U.S. Women’s National Team had a brief run in the World Cup, many had negative comments to make about Rapinoe’s performance during the team’s ultimate game. We all know that the media is dying to get the chance to talk negatively about any woman that has a poor game, let alone a woman who is openly gay. This was not the send off that Megan Rapinoe deserved after her World Champion career in soccer that left many inspired. I felt it only correct to give Rapinoe a proper send off as well as a look at her incredible legacy through the years. 

Rapinoe’s career started at The University of Portland, where she played soccer for the Pilots. Rapinoe led the team to win the national championship in 2005. She continued her victorious career to win two World Cups, as well as both gold and bronze medals in the Olympics. Rapinoe has won many awards. She was crowned FIFA’s best women’s player, and she was awarded the World Cup’s Golden Boot and Gold Ball, just to name a few. She has always been an incredible offensive player for every team that she’s called home. Rapinoe has been an absolute light on and off the field. 

Though she is well known for her incredible soccer skills, she has also been an incredible advocate for LGBTQ+ and women’s equality issues. Athletes are often told to put their head down and focus on their sport. However, something very special happens when an athlete decides to go outside the box and speak up for what they believe in. In doing so, they are taking a chance of being shot down and criticized. Rapinoe was a huge advocate for the equal pay fight that the Women’s National Soccer Team fought for starting back in 2016. Eventually, in 2022, the Equal Rights Act succeeded, and they would finally pay equally to both teams and split tournament prizes. For her bravery, president Joe Biden awarded Rapinoe the medal of freedom in 2022. These are just a few of her accomplishments in her career on and off the field.

Over time, one of our favorite athletes would come to realize that it’s time to retire. At age 38, Rapinoe would finally throw the towel in and she did so graciously. At least she threw the towel in for her role on the field, but not off. Her role off the field will forever endure. Megan Rapinoe led an absolutely commendable career. The image of this brave woman with the purple hair holding her arms open for the whole world to judge will forever be in our minds. This stance meant that no one could take away their freedom and fight. Rapinoe symbolizes bravery in all women’s sports and their fight to be treated the same as the men. There is Rapinoe as a professional soccer player and then there is Rapinoe, the courageous activist. For someone with that much drive, you don’t just give up the fight once you’re off the field. That fight will forever live on. Congratulations Megan Rapinoe on your retirement and for all of your accomplishments. Every single woman in sports and women in general thank you.

Allera Bee

Virginia Tech '26

My name is Allera (Ally) Bee and I am a student at Virginia Tech. I am from Cincinnati, Ohio and I am studying multimedia journalism.