As the U.S. Women’s National Team wrapped up their Tournament of Nations, winger for both the national team and Seattle Reign F.C. Megan Rapinoe stopped by Scottsdale, Arizona on Friday October 27th to speak on a range of topics from equal pay to the trajectory of soccer in the country to what it means to be politically active as a professional athlete.
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) invited the Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion to speak at one of their segments called Out@SMoCA which brings members from the LGBTQ community to discuss their various journeys and profound insight.
If you’re familiar with the crafty USWNT winger, you know that Rapinoe isn’t afraid to use her platform to advocate for equality. As a gay, female professional athlete, Rapinoe says that, “it’s the fight everyday.”
“Unless your job is to be a full time activist, any sort of waging into it is difficult because it’s not just the time or the energy you spend, it’s home. It’s personal. It’s emotional. It’s something that keeps you up at night,” Rapinoe mentions.
Rapinoe, also known as “Pinoe,” mentions how the United State Soccer Federation can do a better job to not only promote women’s soccer but to make it more enticing for the country.
“We need to rethink the way we market the women’s team, women’s leagues in a way that we fund them through a grassroots effort. There needs to be a reckoning for a major shift to happen in the feeling of how we view women’s sports in a way that we truly care about them — how they spend their time, their money like TV advertisers and marketing,” Pinoe adds. “We need to do all of that in a way that is thoughtful and brings the athlete and their stories in a way to have us figure out an equal way that we women can participate in sports.”
In regards to the future of U.S. Soccer, well, we’re living it. With being one of the most revered and feared teams in the world, the U.S. Women’s National Team has created the wining culture of soccer this country needs to adopt. Yes, the U.S. Men’s National Team absence of the 2018 World Cup in Russia is a blow. Yes, soccer isn’t the “biggest” sport in this country. Yes, soccer fever is at its peak when the World Cups come around. However, the present and future of soccer in this country is female. Failure to recognize that is pure ignorance.
With being crowned champions of the world twice, medaling in the Olympics a handful of times, establishing a revolving door of raw talent and seasoned veterans on the same pitch, and establishing a prestige league for women all over, women in soccer are trying to tackle the stigma that soccer and winning aren’t synonymous in the United States. Support your local NWSL club, find your American Outlaws Chapter, and stop waiting for a mediocre national team to get good when the golden era of women’s soccer is right in front of you.