AE: Are you more nervous now with more attention on you, as far as playing the game? I imagine that going to the Olympics and having all this pressure —
MR: Well I get different questions and people want to talk about it a little bit more. Thus far it hasn’t been that much more pressure. Our team as a whole just has so much pressure on us already. As long as I’ve been on this team, there’s been pressure to win every single game. Not just the majority of games — to win every game. I think we come into this knowing that so I don’t feel like there’s much added pressure.
AE: Just more eyes?
MR: Definitely more eyes, for sure. But luckily we have Hope Solo — she takes most of the eyes. She takes most of the attention, so we can kind of go about our business — unfortunately for her!
AE: What do you do to prepare for a game? You said before in one of your interviews, you always knew you were going to be doing soccer for a living. How did you know you had what it took and how did you prepare yourself for getting here?
MR: Oh man. It was always a dream, of course. I love the Olympics. I always have. I think maybe midway through high school and definitely in college I kind of started realizing that soccer could be a job for me — and a way to make a living and I could keep playing. It was kind of just a sort of of a snowball evolution where I just kind of kept going with it. I kind of kept going with it — high school, college, and went to college on a soccer scholarship and then after college WPS was around, and it kept going and then the national team. It was just sort of a natural progression. Now I can’t believe where it’s led me. I’m on a train right now heading to the Olympics. It’s unbelievable.
AE: You mention college: Was that the Portland Pilots — University of Portland? That was a Catholic school, right?
MR: It is.
AE: Are you a religious person?
MR: No. [Laughs]
AE: Were you out in college?
MR: Yeah, I was! I think it’s interesting — it is a small, private Catholic predominately white school, but it’s in Portland. You know, Portland’s very diverse and has all walks of life and of all fibers. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to go there if I was just going for school — I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it, to be honest. It’s a little expensive. You know I went there for soccer. I kind of thought — there were a lot of different kinds of people there because of the athletics program because we were in need of diversity. So yeah I was out in college and never had any problems with it at all. I felt accepted by coaches and teammates; everybody, really. I never experienced any sort of negative feelings. I haven’t at all, really. I’m very lucky to have support since day one.
AE: So you were on the winning team there in 2005. In 2004, Referendum 36 was passed as Oregon state law that said marriage was between a man in a woman. I was wondering what your feelings were, in the wake of that. You were playing for a team, although they were supportive — you were still playing in a state that voted against your rights. How did you feel about that?
MR: To be honest, at the time I don’t think I knew that. I don’t think I knew that about Portland or Oregon in general. Even to this day — I live in California, call California home and obviously same-sex marriage isn’t legal there yet so it is hard. There’s only a few states that do accept it and that’s wildly frustrating and a bit ridiculous for the times we’re in now. I think eventually it will change and we’re not too far off.
AE: It wasn’t a hot topic for me until 2008 with Prop. 8. I never really thought about it.
MR: You just can’t really forsake those areas. It’s important, obviously, have a presence in those areas and hopefully make enough of an impact to change things.
Photo by AP/Getty
AE: How do you feel about celebrities that are still in the closet?
MR: It is a difficult question because I don’t feel like I have the right to say “You should do this” or “You should come out.” But I do think that it has a very big impact. Look at someone like Anderson Cooper. I think people knew for a long time that he was [gay] but he has a positive impact. He’s a person of interest and whether they want to have a private life or not, they made the choice not to by being in the position that they are. I do feel like it’s important and I think that eventually it’ll help a lot if people come out. But you can’t tell people what to do with their own life, I guess.
AE: Do you think “I’m going to represent a country I don’t have equal rights in?” You’re arguably one of the best soccer players in the world and you’re going to represent the United States where you don’t have the same rights.
MR: Yeah, of course I think about that. Being this is the United States and not having the same rights as everyone else, of course it’s frustrating. I try to think positive and see it’s changing and I think there are being strides made and I think we’ll see that barrier fall very soon.
AE: But just having you go and represent us at the same time is so huge. It’s a huge impact.
MR: Yeah, hopefully! I’d like to make a positive impact. I definitely want it to.