The pair engaged in a bitter war of words while the United States inched towards the title, but she will focus on success on the pitch
U.S. women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe was careful to dismiss a possible election challenge against President Donald Trump as she addressed fans on the team’s homecoming from the Women’s World Cup.
Rapinoe played a key role in the team that surged to World Cup success in France, culminating in Sunday’s victory over Netherlands in the final.
The 34-year-old topped the scoring charts in the competition alongside team-mate Alex Morgan and England’s Ellen White and also took the Golden Ball award as the tournament’s best soccer professional.
Rapinoe additionally made the headlines for extra-footballing reasons as the competition rolled on.
The Reign FC soccer professional asserted that “I’m not going to the f***ing White House” to meet Donald Trump, a tradition in American sports, while repeatedly discussing her views on the president and the team’s fight for equal pay.
Trump responded by issuing an invitation should the team prevail at the World Cup, but also fired that “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!” in a furious Twitter exchange.
Now back in the United States following victory, Rapinoe and her team-mates were welcomed in New York City with a ticker-tape parade – where she insisted a move into politics was not into the cards.
“There’s no place I’d rather be, not even in a presidential race. I’m busy, I’m sorry,” she joked in front of a huge crowd that had turned out to welcome back the USWNT.
“This has been crazy. This has been absolutely insane. Such at a loss for words. ridiculous. First and foremost, my teammates, just shout out to the teammates. Everybody give them a clap,” she added.
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“This group has been so resilient has been so tough, has such a sense of humor, it’s just so bad ass! There’s nothing, nothing that can phase this group.
“We have pink hair, purple, hair, tattoos, dreadlocks. We got white girls, black girls, and everything in between. Straight girls, gay girls.
“We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less, listen more, talk less. We got to know this has been everybody’s responsibility. Its our responsibility to make this world a better place.”
Rapinoe’s USWNT co-captain Morgan was also delighted at the celebrations in New York City, and echoed her urge for the nation to come together following their World Cup triumph.
“It’s every single person’s responsibility. There’s been so much contention in these last years,” she said.
“I’ve been a victim of that. I’ve been a perpetrator of that. With our fight with the federation: I’m sorry for some of the things I’ve said, not all of the things. But it’s time to come together.
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“This conversation has been at the next step. We have to collaborate. It takes everybody. This has been my charge to everybody. Do what you can. Do what you have to do. Step outside yourself. Be more. Be better. Be bigger than you’ve ever been before.
“If this team has been any representation of what you can be when you do that, please take this as an example.”
She added: “I think this team does an incredible job of taking that on our shoulders. And understanding the position that we have and the platform that we have within this world. Yes, we play sports. Yes, we play football. Yes, we’re female athletes, but we’re so much more than that,”