Megan Rapinoe isn’t one to mince words.
In fact, even without a traditional media presence last year due to sitting out of club and national team competitions, Rapinoe still made her voice heard through social media. And, no, Rapinoe wasn’t just sitting on her couch or mindlessly scrolling through Twitter. The OL Reign and U.S. women’s national team forward was at work, and she was busy.
Rapinoe penned a book, which was released late in 2020. She also accompanied her fiancée, Seattle Storm star Sue Bird, in the WNBA Bubble. Rapinoe kept advertising the NWSL and WNBA for putting on successful tournaments and competition in 2020. She worked out, staying in shape for a busy 2021.
Rapinoe spoke with media on Tuesday from USWNT camp and discussed all of those various happenings. Also, Rapinoe spoke on the current state of the nation, following the attacks and insurrection on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Rapinoe stated that the attacks will live on in the echoes of American history forever. She went on to talk about the Capitol attacks, specifically, for a total of six minutes.
“It’s just striking how horrible it was and just how insane it was,” she said. “... To see where we’ve come in these four years has been devastating, and also just, I think, hopefully the final straw for so many people to really understand that the reason that we’re here is because we never have actually had a reckoning with what our country really is.”
Rapinoe isn’t speaking out against current President Donald Trump for the first time. She publicly stated she wouldn’t “f**king go to the White House” if the invitation was extended after the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which the United States won. On her social media, Rapinoe has openly disagreed with and criticized the president, while lobbying and putting her support behind Joe Biden (after initially supporting Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primaries).
Rapinoe’s full answer ended with her calling the Capitol attack a “stain” on the United States.
“This is a huge stain on the country, but hopefully, an opportunity for us to move forward in the way that we need to,” she said.
Opting out of the 2020 Challenge Cup, Fall Series
Rapinoe spoke at length about a busy 2020.
She did not suit up for OL Reign, though. Rapinoe elected to opt out of the NWSL Challenge Cup and Fall Series competitions. The forward said that opting out was due to COVID-19 concerns, but also self-realization that she wasn’t ready for competitive games due to a lack of team training.
“[I] just wasn’t really in a place that I felt comfortable to put myself back into competitive games, and the virus concerns [were there], frankly,” she said.
“I still have a lot of virus concerns as it’s raging all across the country, but the Federation has set up in an amazing environment here that feels very safe and is as close to a bubble as we can get; we’re sort of in the middle of nowhere, Florida,” Rapinoe said, referencing the U.S. women’s national team camp in Orlando.
Rapinoe said that she and Bird tried to keep a positive attitude about COVID-19. When Bird joined her Seattle Storm teammates inside the WNBA “Wubble,” Rapinoe also followed.
“To be a part of that, and take the time to spend with each other and be a part of the incredible WNBA season that happened — and shout out to the NWSL, as well, I think they did such a fantastic job, not only getting the season off and having it be really safe, but centering social justice,” Rapinoe said.
When Rapinoe does join up with OL Reign, she’ll be around new faces. Last year, Farid Benstiti took over as head coach, bringing in a new wave of players like Costa Rican international Shirley Cruz, Madison Hammond and Dani Weatherholt.
This offseason, the Reign have reshaped their roster once again. The club added Ally Watt, Cosette Morché and Brazilian international Angelina. Wednesday night at the NWSL Draft, the Reign picked up Mexican international Jimena López.
Beyond just her club teammates, Rapinoe said she’s proud of the large group of players in the NWSL that have made a difference with their spotlight on social justice.
“I have just a huge amount of pride and respect for so many people going through their journey and learning and growing, and feeling more comfortable speaking out about things,” Rapinoe said. “Obviously, what we saw through the summer and just through the pandemic with the protests, hopefully a lot of people’s eyes are opened up, particularly my fellow white teammates.”
Rested, Recovered and Ready to Roll
Now, for the first time in almost a year, Rapinoe is back in team training, but with the national team. She said that the benefit to the long layoff was that she feels more rested than ever throughout her entire career.
“I’m in a much better position as of January 12, 2021, than I was one year ago — obviously coming off the World Cup and everything that ensued was just, you know, an amazing mayhem but mayhem, nonetheless,” she said.
Now, Rapinoe is ready and excited to suit up and play soccer again.
“It was really difficult to not be out on the field with my teammates and to not have a consistent training environment,” Rapinoe said. “Anyone who really knows me knows I hate to work out on my own as it is. So, to have to do that for 10 straight months and try to keep myself motivated was very difficult, but I’m really looking forward to being back out on the field my teammates.”
Rapinoe could see her first competitive action since March 2020 during the U.S. friendlies against Colombia on Jan. 18 and 22 at Exploria Stadium. Both matches will air on FS1 at 4 PM PT.