Megan Rapinoe, star of the United States Women’s National Team, was awarded the women’s Ballon d’Or prize at an awards ceremony in Paris on Monday. Thus, she became the first United States women’s national team (USWNT) player to win the prestigious award, Norwegian striker and Lyon star Ada Hegerberg being the winner of the inaugural award last year. Voted the Feminine Ballon d’Or, Rapinoe, 34, succeeds after starring on and off the field as the US retained the World Cup in France in July.

The American have had a fabulous year in which she helped the USA win the Women’s World Cup for the second time in her career. She won both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the tournament.

“It’s been an incredible year,” Rapinoe said in a recorded video message. She couldn’t return to France to collect her award due to playing commitments. “I want to say a huge thank you to my team-mates, the coaches, the US Soccer Federation, for all of the support to allow me to be who I am and do what I do on the field but also be the person who I am off the field,” she added.

Key Takeaways:

  • Megan Rapinoe, star of the United States Women’s National Team, was awarded the women’s Ballon d’Or prize at an awards ceremony in Paris.
  • She became the first United States women’s national team (USWNT) player to win the prestigious award, Norwegian striker and Lyon star Ada Hegerberg being the winner of the inaugural award last year.
  • Rapinoe helped lead the USWNT to its fourth World Cup title last summer in France, scoring six goals and recording as the tournament’s top player.

Rapinoe, who capped as one of the star players plays club football for Reign FC in the US, added, “I’m so sorry I can’t be there. I was looking forward to mixing it up with everyone but I’ll do my best to get back there next year.”

The American have had a fabulous year in which she helped the USA win the Women’s World Cup for the second time in her career. She won both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the tournament. She was also named player of the match in the final. Rapinoe is now one of the most recognisable faces worldwide and appeared in television spots and print advertisements for Vitamin Water in 2016, and also featured in a Nike commercial that same year with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rapinoe, who is known for her strong opinions, has led the way in the women’s national team’s lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, accusing the federation of gender discrimination.

Quick facts about Rapinoe:

  • Rapinoe, the USWNT co-captain is writing a book, which is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2020, The New York Times reported.
  • Forward Rapinoe is a gold-medal Olympian and World Cup champion.
  • She is one of the team’s co-captains, hence the leadership comes naturally for her — both on and off the field
  • Rapinoe made her third straight appearance on her sport’s biggest stage this World Cup
  • She has been playing for Team USA since 2006. Her records are 152 caps (fourth on the team), 44 goals (third), and 57 assists (fifth in team history).
  • She is one of two players representing the NWSL’s Reign FC (the other being midfielder Allie Long), and next to Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, Rapinoe is the most experienced player on the team.
  • At the W-League’s Sydney FC in 2011, Rapinoe was among the first eight American players ever to play in the league. She is also among 35 Team USA players to reach 100 or more international caps.
  • She is not only helping the team to play and win games, but also fighting for equal pay for her hardworking crew.
  • The 33-year-old is adamant to not want to visit the White House or Donald Trump because of his remarks on racial issues, gender issues, LGBTQ issues, immigration, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
  • Rapinoe, who is known for her strong opinions, has led the way in the women’s national team’s lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, accusing the federation of gender discrimination.
  • Rapinoe with her partner Sue Bird became the first gay couple to appear on the cover of the annual Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine. 

READ: Women Footballers Don’t Have A Long History In India: Aditi Chauhan

Feature Image Credit: Yahoo! Sports

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