US Soccer star Megan Rapinoe won big on Sunday (7 July) night as she and the United State’s Women’s National Soccer Team won the Women’s World Cup.
Her team beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the final in Lyon, France. It’s their fourth World Cup title and second in a row.
Scorer of the first goal in the 61st minute, officials awarded Rapinoe both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball awards. They recognized her as the top-scoring and best-playing individual in the cup.
The openly-lesbian midfielder scored a total of six goals throughout the tournament.
‘It’s unbelievable’, the 34-year-old told Fox News.
‘Just to know all of the people in our group that put in so much work, obviously the players. We have all our friends and family here. It’s surreal. I don’t know how to feel right now. It’s ridiculous.’
Rapinoe, who is in a relationship with WNBA star Sue Bird, has been vocal about LGBTI rights.
Last month, she said she would not go to the ‘fucking White House’ to meet President Trump if they won.
Speaking after her team’s 2-1 win over France last month, the openly lesbian midfielder said gay people play an integral role in sport.
‘You can’t win a championship without gays on your team,’ she said, reports the Guardian. ‘It’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there!’
British Labour politician Emily Thornberry was among those to congratulate the US. ‘Eat that, Donald Trump’ she wrote.
Commiserations to the Netherlands and their brilliant Arsenal contingent, but I’m delighted to see the US and Megan Rapinoe win that final on Pride Weekend. 🏳️🌈🇺🇸🏳️🌈🇺🇸
Eat that, Donald Trump.
— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) July 7, 2019
Following the win, the stadium in Lyon on Sunday erupted in chants of ‘equal pay’.
The international governing body of Soccer, FIFA, offer US$440 million in prizes at the men’s World Cup. It offers only US$30 million at the women’s version of the game.
Female soccer players in the US earn roughly $30,000 less than their male counterparts.
Tennis champion Billie Jean King and writer Roxane Gay were among those adding voices to demands for equal pay.
Congratulations to the #USWNT on their 4th World Cup win! These athletes have brought more attention, support, & pride to women’s sport than perhaps any other team in history. It is long past time to pay them what they rightly deserve. 🇺🇸🏆🏆🏆🏆 #USAvNED #WorldCupfinal #EqualPay
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) July 7, 2019
Will Rapinoe go to the White House?
Trump on Sunday praised the team’s ‘great and exciting play’.
But, critics noted, it took him more than an hour after the win to congratulate the team.
After Rapinoe last month said she would not go the President’s Office, Trump insisted on inviting the whole team.
But, ‘Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team’ he wrote.
Rapinoe previous explained that Trump often avoided inviting teams that might decline.
Or, like he did when the [NBA’s Golden State] Warriors turned him down, he’ll claim they hadn’t been invited in the first place’ she said.
Similarly, Trump also canceled a visit by the NFL team the Philadelphia Eagles following their Super Bowl win last year when most players declined to attend.
During last year’s Winter Olympics, gay figure skater Adam Rippon said he wouldn’t go because he wouldn’t be welcome.