As an accomplished veteran looking to bow out of the World Cup with a third title in a row, Megan Rapinoe has embraced a different position for the United States team in their quest to win the tournament.
The football player, who will be 38 years old when he hangs up his cleats at the end of the current campaign, is the senior member of a United States squad that is now competing in Australia and New Zealand.
As a result of the forward’s six goals, he was awarded the Golden Ball as well as the Golden Boot when the United States of America triumphed once more in France four years ago.
The image of her celebrating a goal with her arms wide open became emblematic of the competition.
Rapinoe is just as dangerous off the field as she is on it. She was an integral part of the team’s fight against the US federation for equal pay and conditions, and she continues to be an unwavering supporter for women and the LGBTQ community today.
Even though she is well past her playing heyday and won’t be able to participate in every minute of her fourth World Cup, the United States coach Vlatko Andonovski stated that the winner of the 2019 Ballon d’Or was just as vital as she has ever been.
He stated in the lead-up to the competition, “First and foremost, the thing with ‘Pinoe’ is, when she’s on the field, she’s a great player,”
“That is the primary justification for why she is a part of this group.
She is without a doubt one of the most innovative players that I have ever saw.
It is possible that Rapinoe’s expertise and leadership will be just as important off the field for a team that contains 14 players making their first appearance at the World Cup.
“She will have a role of a player-leader — and leading the leaders as well,” Andonovski said. “She will also be leading the players.”
The United States will start their campaign on Saturday against Vietnam in Auckland, and they are considered to be the favorites to successfully defend their title over the next month.
Rapinoe was injured while playing for her team, the OL Reign, in a National Women’s Soccer League match on June 10, although she anticipates being able to return to action whenever it is necessary.
“It was not a significant issue,” she explained. Not the best timing, but that’s just how it is when you’re an athlete. on the beginning of the competition, I have no concerns on this matter.”
Regardless of how many minutes Rapinoe ends up playing in the World Cup, she continues to serve as an example for the rest of the team.
“First, she’s an amazing player, so on the field you already know where the level needs to be,” said Alyssa Thompson, who is 18 years old and a forward.
“And off the field, she is so hilarious, and she makes me feel at ease despite the fact that I am so young and she is so much older than me.”
“Just being around her makes me feel like this is where I should be,” I said.
Rapinoe does not require anyone to convince her that she belongs at a World Cup, but she has not lost any of her sense of amazement at the opportunity to participate in what she describes as “the premier women’s sporting event in the world, bar none.”
She exclaimed, “I can’t believe we’re back at the World Cup again,” and I couldn’t agree more. “This is without a doubt the most exciting part of our entire career.
“It never gets old.”