Megan Rapinoe Partner, Activism and Stats Revealed Ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Megan Rapinoe Partner, Activism and Stats Revealed Ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Megan Rapinoe is a two-time world champion, one of Donald Trump's most vocal critics and a social activist. It's fair to say few athletes have become as prominent a figure in the U.S. as the soccer player over the last few years.

The 36-year-old's influence has extended far beyond soccer's traditional boundaries and she could add a second Olympic gold medal to an already glittering trophy cabinet at the upcoming Tokyo Games this month.

So who is Megan Rapinoe?

Megan Rapinoe stats

One of the icons of women's soccer, Rapinoe has made 179 appearances for the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT), scoring 59 goals since making her senior international debut in 2006. She made her World Cup debut in 2011, scoring against Colombia in a 3-0 win, and making headlines around the world after celebrating by picking up an on-field microphone and serenading the corner flag by singing Bruce Springsteen's hit Born in the U.S.A.

The USWNT eventually lost the final on penalties against Japan, but got its revenge four years later, thrashing the defending champions 5-2 in the final. Rapinoe scored twice in the group stage against Australia.

In 2019, the California-native was instrumental as the USWNT defended its title in France. In her third World Cup appearance, Rapinoe scored six goals in the tournament—including the opening goal in the final against the Netherlands—winning both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball as the tournament's top scorer and best player, respectively.

Part of the USWNT team that won the Algarve Cup in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and the SheBelieves Cup in 2018, 2020 and 2021, Rapinoe won gold at the 2012 London Olympics, as the U.S. defeated Japan 2-1 in the final.

Rapinoe opened the scoring in the win over Colombia in the group stages and got two goals against Canada in the semifinal as the USWNT defeated its arch-rivals 4-3 after extra time.

At club level, she has scored 35 goals in 81 appearances in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) for Seattle Reign since making her league debut in 2013, twice winning the NWSL Shield—the trophy reserved to the team that finishes with the best regular season record—in 2014 and 2015.

Up until moving to Seattle, however, Rapinoe's club career had been far from straightforward.

Selected by the Chicago Red Stars in the 2009 Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft ahead of the league's inaugural campaign, Rapinoe signed with Philadelphia Independence—an expansion franchise at the time—after the Red Stars ceased operations, before being swiftly traded to MagicJack and losing against her former team in the playoffs final. By the start of the 2012 season, however, Rapinoe found herself a free agent when WPS voted to terminate MagicJack after becoming embroiled in a legal tussle with franchise owner Dan Borislow.

Fleeting spells with Sydney FC in Australia and Seattle Sounders Women in the U.S. followed as the WPS ultimately wound up operations at the beginning of 2012, before Rapinoe signed for European women's soccer heavyweights Olympique Lyonnais. In 28 games over two seasons, Rapinoe scored eight goals before eventually returning to the U.S. to play for the Reign in the newly-formed NWSL.
Who is Megan Rapinoe's partner?

Rapinoe has been dating WNBA star Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm since 2016. The two became the first same-sex couple to appear on the cover of ESPN's The Body Issue in 2018 and announced their engagement in October 2020 with an Instagram post.

Rapinoe first came out as gay in the July 2012 edition of LGBTQ magazine Out. She revealed she had been in a relationship with Australian soccer player Sarah Walsh since 2009, who was briefly her teammate during her short spell at Sydney FC.

The USWNT star and Walsh broke up in 2013, before Rapinoe began dating American singer Sera Cahoone. In August 2015, Rapinoe announced on Instagram that she was engaged to Cahoone, before in January 2017 Rapinoe said the wedding plans had been put on hold. Less than six months later, during an interview with ESPN, Bird confirmed she had been dating Rapinoe since the previous year.

Megan Rapinoe on LGBT rights and social activism

One of the biggest stars of women's soccer, Rapinoe has arguably developed into an even bigger icon off the field.

The 36-year-old has campaigned on a host of issues, from LGBT rights to bridging the gender pay gap. In 2019, along with her USWNT teammates, Rapinoe filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation demanding equal pay for men and women.

"The effects of equal pay is not just on the woman's wallet," she explained at the time.

"It's on her children's wallet, it's on her community's wallet. It's sort of on the whole world. It affects men too, I think a lot of guys don't realize that. Every time a woman is not paid equally, everyone is not and nobody's potential is able to be reached."

Rapinoe was also among the athletes to support Colin Kaepernick's protests against police brutality and racial inequality and took a knee herself before USWNT games. The gesture prompted the U.S. Soccer Federation to pass a rule requiring all players to stand for the national anthem.

"Colin Kaepernick never shied away," Rapinoe said at the opening of the ESPYs ceremony in June 2020. "He knew that discomfort was essential to liberation, and that fighting the oppression against Black people is bigger than sports.

"So will it be uncomfortable? Yes. In speaking up, will we make mistakes? Yes. That cannot stop us from trying, and not just for a few days or for a few [Instagram] posts."