On Thursday, Meghan Rapinoe will become the first footballer to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor an American civilian can receive. Adding this to his list of accomplishments and huge net worth, Express.co.uk looks back on his incredible career so far.
California-born Rapinoe is well known for her prowess on the pitch and her equally powerful activism outside of the stadiums.
Early in her professional career, Rapinoe was traded from Philadelphia Independence to MagicJack for $100,000 (£83,000), four times the average female player salary in the league.
Her long list of accomplishments would continually increase her paycheck over time and in 2019 she was part of the World Cup winning women’s team.
The team won a collective $4m (£3.3m), with members earning a bonus of $90,000 (£74,000) for reaching the quarter-finals.
Rapinoe’s football stardom has earned her an estimated total net worth of $4.2m (£3.5m) according to Forbes, putting her just outside their list of the 10 highest paid female athletes.
Now 37, she will be the first footballer to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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She has championed LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality and equal pay, hoping to change the football landscape for the better.
She is expected to receive the medal from President Joe Biden at the White House later this week.
The Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have made incredible contributions to societal endeavors such as world peace.
She reportedly received a personal call from President Biden to inform him of the news.
Rapinoe has since commented, “I am honored and truly honored to have been chosen for this award by President Biden and feel as inspired and motivated as ever to continue this long history of fighting for the freedoms of all. To quote Emma Lazarus: “Until we are all free, we are not free. » »
Rapinoe is one of seven children and her interest in football began with her older brother Brian, mesmerized watching him play when she was just three years old.
However, Brian, like many in the area where they grew up, would soon find himself captivated by the world of drugs.
Rapinoe and her twin sister Rachael used football as a means of escape from drug addiction.
She quickly moved from school to regional teams, to enter college on a full scholarship to play for the Portland Pilots alongside Rachael.
In 2006, she found herself as one of the top scorers in the country, but her season took an unfortunate turn and ACL injuries plagued her for the next two years, receiving a medical hardship waiver for her issues. .
With her waiver of medical difficulties, she could have stayed one more season in college, but decided to enter the women’s pro soccer draft instead.
At that time, she had a career-high 88 points, with 30 goals and 28 assists, despite only playing 60 games.
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Soon, Rapinoe found herself traded from Philadelphia Independence to MagicJack for four times the average league player salary.
Rapinoe had become a bona fide sports star, her mere presence now drawing fans to stadiums whenever she played.
She joined the Seattle Sounders Women in the summer of 2012, and the team sold out all but one of its home games, four times the average attendance for the closest team.
Later that same year, she would become the first and only player, regardless of gender, to score an Olimpico at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Her achievements would continue to pile up and she went on to sign with French Olympique Lyonnais for $14,000 (£11,000) a month and made her Champions League debut soon after in 2013.
In 2019, Rapinoe appeared in her third World Cup and helped USA advance to the quarter-finals where she would be named Player of the Match.
In the final World Cup game, at 34, she became the oldest woman to score in a World Cup final.
Off the court, Rapinoe broke records and boundaries, becoming one half of the first same-sex couple on the cover of ESPN’s The Body Issue in 2018 with partner Sue Bird.
At the 2015 World Cup, she stood in solemn silence during the national anthem and has been involved in the women’s team equal pay suit since 2016.
She found herself in media headlines again when she knelt during the national anthem at an international game in 2016, showing solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick.