After Failing US, Women, and Team, Megan Rapinoe Fails at Soccer

Rapinoe recalls the equal-pay discussions—not the back-to-back World Cup trophies or camaraderie with her fellow players—as the highlight of her soccer career.

You could feel sympathy for almost anyone in her position.

But not for Megan Rapinoe.

Rapinoe sported a turquoise pixie cut at her last moment on the international soccer stage. She called the devastating choke to end her U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team career “dark comedy”—a “sick joke.” The team’s reliable winger had never missed a penalty kick. Prior to the final game against Sweden, her success rate was 100 percent.

Even her biggest adversaries—and Rapinoe has racked up quite a few—would have to agree that the miss that meant America’s exit in the women’s tournament was indeed “dark comedy.” But not for the same reason.

Carli Lloyd, who helped lead the team to their 2015 and 2019 World Cup victories, could see the defeat of this year’s team on the horizon. She scolded her former teammates as they seemed to celebrate the draw against Portugal that advanced them in the tournament a week earlier.

“I am seeing a very lackluster, uninspiring, taking-it-for-granted [attitude].”

Lloyd tartly assessed that the World Cup loss, the quickest exit for the American women’s team ever, wasn’t caused by one moment of weakness at one moment. It wasn’t by chance, uncontrollable, or unexpected.

“This was years in the making.”

The collapse wasn’t primarily physical. Carli Lloyd did not drop the names of any players, but she’s been sounding the alarm about the gradual erosion of team culture and morale for years—even when she herself was a part of it.

The architect of the team’s demise could be none other than alpha female Megan Rapinoe.

A midfielder for over a decade, Rapinoe played for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team. Yet she publicly sought to dismantle the institution that permitted her to pursue her athletic ambitions full-time.

Rapinoe spent most of her extracurricular hours bashing the United States with words, actions, and Twitter content akin to that of Colin Kaepernick. It took just a few years for a magenta-dyed Rapinoe to corrupt the whole team – the proverbial one rotten apple ruining the entire barrel. During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as everyone else knelt alongside Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd stood for the National Anthem.

Lloyd’s willingness to harshly critique her former teammates is a testament to her claims of weak rapport.

Ringleader Rapinoe further poisoned team morale, this time including Lloyd’s, when she conjured up her total disdain for the salaries paid to female soccer players. The team became public enemy number one with fans when they filed an in-your-face lawsuit demanding more money.

Rapinoe recalls the equal-pay discussions—not the back-to-back World Cup trophies or camaraderie with her fellow players—as the highlight of her soccer career.

The suit was thrown out of federal court in Los Angeles by a judge who decided that females on the team, who are guaranteed their salaries, have it much cushier than their male counterparts, who are paid only if they play. According to the national team site, from 2015 to 2019, USWNT players made more money than USMNT players as a team both overall and on an average per-game basis.

If the women wanted their earnings to be equal to the men’s, they’d have to… take a pay cut.

The reality of the math could not appease Rapinoe, who, with her locks an auburn shade at this point, demanded in viral videos that the women’s contract be identical to the men’s.

“We asked to be under the men’s contract, and it was repeatedly refused to us, not only in the structure but in the total compensation. If we were under that contract, we would have earned at least three times higher.”

This is partially true. Rapinoe and the other stars of the team who dominated the playing time would get massive bonuses. However, her teammates on the bench or the disabled list would earn, well, nothing. Rapinoe was always out for Rapinoe, not for the women’s team.

But after years of feigned outrage for gender equality, Rapinoe’s latest and most insufferable political stunt drove daggers into just that—the women’s team.

This past April, Rapinoe joined 39 other athletes to co-sign a letter to Congress opposing the Protection of Girls and Women in Sports Act. The proposed legislation would bar men on estrogen from competing in women’s sports.

“I see trans women as real women,” she insisted, then added that she would “absolutely” accept a transgender woman (a biological male) on the U.S. women’s national team.

Wait a second. Wasn’t being a member of the women’s team horrible and senseless five minutes ago? Why would Rapinoe subject anyone to such agony?

Perhaps a biological male would have made that penalty shot. Who knows, maybe one will replace Megan Rapinoe now that there’s an open spot on the women’s team.

But hopefully the team’s decay ends with her retirement. Hopefully the team she taught to embrace victimhood off the field will go back to not settling for mediocrity on the field. Hopefully they will keep their eyes on the ball and not on Rapinoe’s blossoming political career, fame, or fortune.

For over a decade, Rapinoe was ubiquitous on the national stage, despite the ingratitude she displayed toward the “women’s,” the “national,” or the “team” aspect of it all, because she could hold the “soccer” part together.

But at the end of the day, Rapinoe’s Presidential Medal of Freedom meant nothing to the scoreboard. Her millions of social media followers couldn’t put the ball in the net. So, yes, the devastating end to her career—and to the televised sight of her fading teal tips—is a delicious little slice of dark comedy.

Join Howie's Mailing List!

You have successfully subscribed!