Newsbeat

Megan Rapinoe: A profile of the US women's co-captain

Megan Rapinoe of the United States celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France last-16 match between Spain and USA Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Megan Rapinoe scores against Spain during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

Megan Rapinoe, 33, has declined an invite to the White House from Donald Trump.

The US president has criticised the midfielder, who co-captains the US women's team, telling her not to "disrespect our country".

She's been outspoken about social justice issues and earlier this year referred to herself as a "walking protest".

But who is Megan Rapinoe?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Megan Rapinoe also captains Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League

The winger, born in Redding, California, studied at the University of Portland. She has five siblings, including her non-identical twin, Rachael.

She slotted home two penalties for the US in their last-16 tie against Spain to set up a quarter-final against France.

LGBT advocate

Megan, who came out in 2012, is an advocate for numerous LGBT organisations.

In 2013, she was honoured with the Board of Directors Award by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center - for coming out as a high-profile gay athlete.

Megan is also an ambassador for Athlete Ally who focus on gaining equal access for all athletes in sport regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

She said at the time: "I want to be an Ally because I have walked in your shoes, and walked the road ahead of you.

"[I] want you to know you will be okay, and you have more support than you ever dared to dream of."

In 2015, she was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Megan Rapinoe receives her Player of the Match award against Spain

National anthem protests

The footballer has been protesting the national anthem since 2016, in support of Colin Kaepernick who refused to stand for the song.

In an article written by herself in The Players Tribune called Why am I Kneeling, she said: "I haven't experienced over-policing, racial profiling, police brutality or the sight of a family member's body lying dead in the street.

"But I cannot stand idly by while there are people in this country who have had to deal with that kind of heartache.

"I can understand if you think that I'm disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rapinoe refuses to sing the American national anthem

But since kneeling for the national anthem was banned by the U.S. Soccer Federation, Rapinoe has changed her approach to her protest.

In the 2019 Women's World Cup, she has decided to not sing or place her hand over her heart like the rest of her teammates while the national anthem is played.

President clashes

Donald Trump has been vocal about his disapproval of her actions.

After stating in an interview with Eight by Eight that she would not go to the White House if she was invited, the US president had some words of his own.

The US women's team are now only three matches away from lifting the World Cup.

And their invite to the White House awaits them, win or lose.

But it seems Megan Rapinoe will refuse to make the trip regardless of the outcome.

The Women's World Cup Final takes place on 7 July.

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays - or listen back here.

Related Topics

More on this story