Megan Rapinoe’s Golden Touch
“We are crazy, that's what makes us special,” Megan Rapinoe’s words will echo for time immemorial in women’s football history. Her golden touch and as one of the three co-captains of the USWNT, Rapinoe has led her team to a glorious fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup title by scoring goals. No wonder, the USWNT’s consecutive FIFA World Cup titles will be attributed to the brilliant British Coach Jill Ellis for grooming the winning squad to achieve greatness.
Megan Rapinoe is the second American woman to win the Golden Boot Award for being the top scorer of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She was also awarded with the Golden Ball Award for her magnificent winning performance throughout the tournament scoring as many as 7 goals in total. In the final against the Netherlands, Rapinoe scored the first goal through a penalty in the 61st minute. Rose Lavelle scored a brilliant solo second goal to seal the 2-0 win for America.
Like a true Captain, Rapinoe showered high praises for Rose Lavelle enthusing, “All through the tournament, she's been on the dribble just missing the end to get that goal on the biggest stage. She's a superstar! She's a star right now!”
Jill Ellis, USWNT Coach became the first woman Coach to win two consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup titles. She is the second Coach to do so after Italian Coach Vittorio Pozzo, who led Italy to win two World Cup titles in 1934 and 1938. Jill Ellis has etched her name with golden letters in FIFA World Cup history books to achieve the outstanding results in the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
After the win, Jill Ellis exclaimed, “I could barely speak, but I said they were unbelievable! Congratulations, you made history, enjoy it -- just unbelievable! I have no words, sorry!” She further added, “This is just an amazing group of players, but an even better group of people -- fantastic resilience and chemistry. They put their heart and soul into this journey, I can't thank them enough. They have been fantastic!”
The Golden Boot:
Rapinoe and Alex Morgan both scored 6 goals each with three assists apiece in the tournament. However, since Rapinoe played one game less, the average playing time was considered to award the Golden Boot to Megan Rapinoe. Alex Morgan was awarded the Silver Boot. In the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Michelle Akers was the first woman to win the Golden Boot Award. Exactly two decades later, Megan Rapinoe replicated Michelle Akers’ amazing success.
Netherlands’ acrobatic goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal showcased a brilliant performance in the final and throughout the tournament. Sari deprived the champions for 60 long minutes before Rapinoe scored through penalty to take a 1-0 lead. Veenendaalwas awarded the Golden Glove for being judged the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
The top three players of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup were American players Megan Rapinoe and Rapinoe, and England’s Lucy Bronze. Rapinoe won the Golden Ball. Lucy Bronze received the Silver Ball, while Rose Lavelle was awarded the Bronze Ball. Rapinoe became the third American to win the Golden Ball Award.
In the year 1991, Carin Jennings and in 2015, Carli Llyod were the winners of the Golden Ball Award. American goalkeeper Hope Solo won the Golden Glove Award twice in 2011 and 2015 editions. In the 1999 edition, American goalkeeper Briana Scurry shared the Golden Glove Award with Chinese goalkeeper Gao Hung.
The USWNT are suing the U.S Soccer Federation for gender discrimination and demanding equal pay like the men’s pay. The fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup title works in favour of the USWNT with a strong support from the American fans. The women’s team 28 members have signed as the plaintiff. The issue has become big with strong crowds’ support, who chanted loudly ‘Equal Pay’ during the award presentation.
The USWNT won the $30 million prize money as the World Champions. This amount is not even one-tenth of the $400 million prize money, which the men received in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The discrimination is evident for the world to see, where the women’s World Champions are paid peanuts compared to their male counterparts.
After the win Megan Rapinoe revealed, “Everyone is kind of asking what's next and what we want to come of all of this? It's to stop having the conversation about equal pay. Are we worth it? What are we going to do about it? Gianni, what are we going to do about it? Carlos, what are we going to do about it? It's time to sit down with everyone and really get to work. This game has done so much for all of us. We have 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. So how do we get everything to match up and continue to push this forward. Because I think at this point the argument we have been having is null and void." Soon after the win, the U.S Women’s Players Association released a statement – ‘The 2-0 win is the proof that men’s and women’s U.S National Teams should be paid equally’.
The statement read – ‘At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won't stand for it anymore. These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings, but get paid less simply because they are women. It is time for the federation to correct this disparity once and for all’.
The ongoing lawsuit has generated international uproar to grab media attention about how the U. S Soccer Federation is shabbily treating its women’s World Champions by discriminating women players. It will be interesting to see how the USWNT – the FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions will fare on the real grounds of life. Now, the U.S Soccer Federation is trying to bridge the gap by agreeing to talk with the 28 team members for an in-between settlement.
Megan Rapinoe was born to Jim and Denise Rapinoe on the 5th of July 1985 in Redding, California. Little Megan was born gifted to achieve greatness in the football world. She was greatly inspired by her elder brother Brian, who started playing football at a tender age of just three. Watching Brian addicted to drugs, Meagan and her fraternal twin Rachael Rapinoe started concentrating on soccer to escape the widespread drug abuse in rural California.
All through her school years, Megan played with teams, which were coached by father Jim Rapinoe. Megan joined Elk Grove Pride Club team in High School years. Megan also participated in track, played basketball and was on the honour roll every semester during her High School years. Megan was talented in her school and was named Parade and National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American as a Junior and Senior.
The Journey Success:
In the year 1999, Megan played for the under-14 Northern California state Olympic Development Program. In 2002, she played for the regional ODP – Olympic Development Program team. In the year 2004, Megan Rapinoe was named to McDonald's All-American Girls High School Soccer West Team. From the year 2002 to 2005, Megan played for Elk Grove Pride Club in the Women’s Premier Soccer League with her twin sister Rachael.
Megan and Rachael Rapinoe joined the University of Portland on full scholarships. They played for the Portland Pilots. Megan was selected to represent the United States U-19 team at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship. The United States finished third.
In the year 2009, Megan Rapinoe was selected second overall in the 2009 WPS Draft by the Chicago Red Stars for the inaugural season of WSP – Women's Professional Soccer. The WPS is the highest division of soccer in the United States at the time. She was part of the USWNT at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.
During the first leg of the 2012-13 against FC Malmo, Megan Rapinoe made her UEFA Women’s Champions League debut. She played for just 24 minutes and scored a goal. Her team Lyon won 5-0. In the year 2013, Megan joined Seattle Reign FC. She has settled well in the club and represents Seattle Reign FC since then. At the 2012 London Olympics, Rapinoe was part of the Olympic Gold medal team, who triumphed over Japan 2-1.
At the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, Megan Rapinoe was part of the winning U.S team. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup win may be 34-year-old Megan Rapinoe’s last appearance at the World Cup. Her success is not only infectious to many youngsters, but also inspiring in various aspects. Player like Megan Rapinoe comes once in a lifetime. She is indeed an international football icon.