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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Megan Rapinoe, beloved USWNT player has reached the end of her career.

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Megan Rapinoe during the 2023 World Cup

On Sept. 24, Megan Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup winner, gold medalist in the 2012 London Olympics, and activist for LGBTQ rights and equal pay, walked off the field for the final time victorious after a 2-0 win against South Africa.

38-year-old Megan Rapinoe has devoted her whole life, since the young age of five, to the intricate game of soccer. Growing up in Redding, California, she found interest in the game in hopes of following in her older brother’s footsteps, who had played for both the high school team and club teams in the area. She began where most young players start, with AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) being coached by her father; later, she played for her middle school and high school teams.

Throughout her high school career, she was an honor roll student every single semester, played multiple sports, including track and basketball, and also played for the Elk Grove Pride club team during her off-seasons, during which she and her family commuted two and a half hours from her hometown to play with the team. While playing with Elk Grove Pride Club they progressed to the US Youth Soccer National Championships, and during the last game of the tournament, she scored an equalizer goal in the 18th minute to tie the game 1-1 against the Peachtree City Lazers, which seemed to be the beginning of her triumphant career playing the sport she loves.

After high school, Rapinoe committed to the Division 1 school, the University of Portland (home of the Portland Pilots), in Oregon on a full scholarship, and in her freshman year, she aided them in an undefeated season and in winning the NCAA Division Women’s Soccer Championship. During just her freshman year, she played and started all 25 games as an attacking midfielder, scoring 15 goals and making 13 assists for 43 points, ranking fifth for freshman point totals in the school’s history.

Not only is Rapinoe a key player on the field, but she is also an incredibly influential person off the field.

Her college career holds many accomplishments, including assisting the Pilots in many significant wins in both tournaments and games, suffering two possibly career-ending ACL injuries and coming back from them better than ever each time, and being named a Soccer America First-Team All-American and NSCAA Second Team All-American. Rapinoe’s college career, which included scoring 30 goals and aiding in 28 assists, ranks tenth in the school’s history despite her playing only 60 games. She is one of the most honored players to attend the University of Portland and was one of the top picks in the Women’s Professional Soccer Draft.

Rapinoe’s professional career was just as, if not more, successful than her college career. The first of many teams she signed with was the Chicago Red Stars, where she played a total of 1,375 minutes on the pitch. In August 2009, she was named to the league’s All-Star Team, which, in terms of professional soccer, is a huge accomplishment. She joined many other teams over the years, consisting of Sydney FC and Seattle Sounders Women, Olympique Lyonnais, and Seattle Reign FC, where she was an essential player for each team and scored many points, assisted, and provided numerous assists while simultaneously joining the US Women’s National Team for World Cups and major games. She earned her title as a strong, independent, and giving player during her endeavors with these teams through her progress and work ethic put out on the field.

Not only is Rapinoe a key player on the field, but she is also an incredibly influential person off the field. She is active in supporting equal pay in international sports and was a part of the lawsuit filed by the US Women’s National Team against the United States Soccer Federation, accusing it of gender discrimination, in hopes of achieving equal pay. She has also been a longtime advocate for the inclusion of transgender women in women’s sports and has done a substantial amount of philanthropic work regarding the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

In 2013, she became an ambassador for Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization that focuses on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports. Rapinoe is also an ally in the Black Lives Matter movement and was one of the first players to begin the powerful trend of kneeling during the national anthem of international games to show support for the many affected by racial hatred. She was the fourth woman honored as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year because of her major influence and help with respect to various causes around the world. The USWNT crew and followers miss her dearly, and supporters wait on the edge of their seats to see what she plans to do next.

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About the Contributors
Lolah Slagg
Lolah Slagg, Reporter
Lolah is a sophomore at Niles North and this is her first year on North Star News. In her free time she enjoys playing soccer, reading, or hanging out with friends.
Lily Howard
Lily Howard, People Editor & Features Editor
Lily is a sophomore at Niles North. She is in debate, Mock law trial, and has been in journalism since the beginning of freshman year.

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