Megan Rapinoe would take the shot again.
The one that seemed like a sure thing when Rapinoe lined up for her kick during the tiebreaking shootout at the end of the U.S.-Sweden game in the Women’s World Cup round of 16.
The one that could have helped keep the Americans in the tournament but instead sailed high over the crossbar.
The one that was openly mocked by former President Trump and many others after the U.S. was eliminated with the shootout loss.
More than two weeks later, Rapinoe says she wouldn’t hesitate to step up if such a moment arose again.
“I would take that one again,” Rapinoe told the Atlantic.
“For a long time, I have thought about missing one in a really big moment. What are you going to do? The only other thing you could do is to not take one. I’m not going to do that. I would rather step up and be in that moment. And I think that’s something that made the criticism after that loss particularly fake and disingenuous and absurd and outrageous to me. It’s like, you’re going to bash on me for getting out there and trying my best?”
Rapinoe has announced she will retire at the end of the NWSL season. That missed shot might have been the last time we see the 38-year-old representing the U.S., but it certainly won’t taint a Hall of Fame career that included more than 200 appearances, 63 goals and two World Cup titles and a World Cup Golden Boot.
That didn’t stop Trump from rubbing it in on social media soon after the U.S. made its earliest exit from a World Cup in a post that seemed to have more to do with the politics of Rapinoe and her teammates than soccer.
“The ‘shocking and totally unexpected’ loss by the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team to Sweden is fully emblematic of what is happening to the our once great Nation under Crooked Joe Biden,” wrote Trump, who also butted heads with Rapinoe during the team‘s World Cup championship run in 2019.
“Many of our players were openly hostile to America – No other country behaved in such a manner, or even close. WOKE EQUALS FAILURE. Nice shot Megan, the USA is going to Hell!!!”
In the Atlantic interview, Rapinoe said Trump’s post was “a compilation of hit words and hot-button words that don’t actually make any sort of sense or square with reality at all.” She lumped it in with much of the criticism she and her teammates received throughout the World Cup, including from Fox Sports analyst Alexi Lalas and former U.S. player Carli Lloyd.
“I think, just in general, the way that our team was spoken about over the course of the tournament, it was fake,” Rapinoe said. “And it didn’t make sense to me. In 2019, we were ultra-confident, ultra-swaggy — and won everything. And even though we won, we did it in bad taste, according to our critics. This time, we weren’t confident enough, and we don’t have the right ‘mentality.’ And so we lost. It’s just so disingenuous. There’s no way for us to win, and there’s no way for us to lose.”
Rapinoe, who was a leading figure in the U.S. women’s successful fight against their own federation for equal pay and working conditions, also weighed in on the actions of Spain soccer federation president Luis Rubiales, who has apologized for kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal presentation after Spain defeated England in Sunday’s World Cup final.
“What kind of upside-down world are we in?” Rapinoe said. “On the biggest stage, where you should be celebrating, Jenni has to be physically assaulted by this guy.”
She said later in the interview: “What I’ve realized for a long time is that we’re playing two games at the same time. One, we’re playing all against each other. And then the other one, we’re all playing together to win equality and progress and what we deserve.
“We want these other teams to be paid equally, and to have the resources that they deserve, and to not be subjected to misogyny and racism and sexism. If that comes at the expense of our own dominance, yeah, we want that.”