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Volume 26 No. 65
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Rapinoe Seen As Face Of Women's Soccer Following World Cup

Rapinoe used the spotlight of the World Cup to speak about inclusion, gay rights and pay equality
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

USWNT F Megan Rapinoe is the "iconic symbol" of the Women's World Cup, with her "hair tinted lavender, arms outstretched in triumph, joy and confidence," according to Ann Killion of the S.F. CHRONICLE (7/8). In L.A., Kevin Baxter writes Rapinoe is now the "closest thing the sport has to a rock star," as she "took this Women’s World Cup by the scruff of the neck and made it her own." Rapinoe "ignited a Twitter feud with President Trump, used the spotlight of soccer’s biggest tournament to speak about inclusion and gay rights, and continued to agitate for pay equality in the sport." If Rapinoe has become a "lightning rod for controversy and criticism, it’s a role she embraces." Rapinoe "arguably has become the most impassioned and forceful advocate for female athletes since Billie Jean King more than a generation ago" (L.A. TIMES, 7/8). FS1’s Maurice Edu called Rapinoe a "badass" and said, "She’s a rock star to handle and deal with so much stuff off the field and not let it have a negative impact on your performance on the field." Edu: "That can weigh on your shoulders a lot, and she took that burden on, she answered all of her critics, and in the biggest moment when they needed her, she delivered" ("Fox Soccer Tonight," FS1, 7/7). In Houston, Jenny Dial Creech wrote Rapinoe "represents America perfectly." Rapinoe is "unapologetically herself and appreciates the chance to represent a country like the U.S. where she can be." She "might not be everyone's cup of tea, but Rapinoe is exactly the kind of person that should represent the United States" (CHRON.com, 7/7).

PICTURE PERFECT: ESPN.com's Alyssa Roenigk noted Rapinoe after scoring the first of the U.S.' two goals yesterday "walked calmly to the corner and slowly lifted her arms wide above her head in the iconic pose that has become symbolic" of her "unflappable conviction and uncanny ability to score goals in big moments" (ESPN.com, 7/7). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman writes the image of Rapinoe's celebration has "become to women’s sports what Michael Jordan’s Jumpman logo is to basketball." But as "strong as Rapinoe is on the field, she has become a supernova off it by venturing far from tactical talk." One move Rapinoe has "perfected during this World Cup is using FIFA-organized news conferences to criticize those who rule the game." She "did so again" after yesterday's game. Rapinoe said of equal pay and growing women's soccer, "Let’s get to the next point of what’s next. How do we support women’s federations or women’s programs around the world? What can FIFA do to do that? What can we do to support the leagues around the world?" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/8).

MAKING AN EARLY CALL: In DC, Barry Svrluga writes despite it only being July, the race to be named '19 Sportsperson of the Year "has an insurmountable leader" in Rapinoe. Svrluga: "Megan Rapinoe is American soccer, American sport. She is a pink-hared nonconformist, unafraid of anything, performing when her country asks for it, speaking her mind regardless of who asks" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/8).