In Megan Rapinoe’s Own Words: “I Want One More”
“The ’99 women's championship came around at the perfect time for me. I was 14, I really loved soccer, and I was good for my club team, but it wasn’t like the thing, you know? It was just one of the sports I played. Then ’99 happened. And everything changed.
For the girls growing up now, it’s hard for them to understand just how mindblowing of a thing this was to see. Nothing like this had existed. All of a sudden, there was a tourney for women. In the United States. And it was on TV. And huge crowds were showing up. And people were going crazy, painting their faces and wrapping themselves in the flag, and it was just this wave that nobody saw coming.
This just wasn’t supposed to happen, you know? I think you probably had thousands of girls in the stadium that day who went home, grabbed a ball and said, “This is what I wanna do.” It was finally possible to dream that big.
The truth is, after 2016, I really thought maybe they were putting ol’ Pinoe out to pasture. I thought maybe it was over. I had a bad ACL injury. Then I barely made the Olympics roster, and I wasn’t close to 100%. So I had a terrible tournament. I barely played. I was a shell of myself.
And then before a friendly match in September, I knelt during the anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick's message about equality. I started getting left off rosters. It was never directly connected to me kneeling. They told me, “You’re not really at the level you need to be.” Which was true! It was never explicit, but how can I put this? It felt like maybe if I faded off into the sunset, that would’ve been just fine.
Well, guess what? I wasn't gonna fade away.
I know this might be my last ride. But I don’t take a day of it for granted. I have the coolest job in the world, and something I’ve been dreaming of since I was in the crowd at Stanford Stadium in ’99. And I really want one more. One more trophy, and one more ticker-tape parade, and one more insane after-party with all the friends and family and staff who make this all so special.
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