An interview with Megan Rapinoe

AE: I wonder if you feel like you have a responsibility to have your other teammates or family members come out.
MR: Not like a responsibility, but I think, I guess, if it makes it a little bit easier for other people, that’s good. I think in women’s sports it’s obviously much easier, I think that’s why there’s so many gay women in sports, even if a lot of people aren’t out. The positive impact and positive reaction I’ve had in real life isn’t having a massive impact on your daily life where I think in male sports it’s different. I hope this make it easier for people, if they want to, to come out.

AE: How is it different in male sports?
MR: I think in male sports, not only is there not really any out gay athletes — not even in the locker room. I think in female sports, the locker room it’s accepted and everybody knows. In male sports, you can’t even come out in the locker room.

AE: I think in US Weekly you said “As far as earning a living as a soccer player, female athletes in the United States, it’s easier but worldwide it’s harder.” Do you have a lot friends on other teams and can you give us some insight into that?
MR: Yeah I think we’re really well taken care of by our federation. We’re always fighting for equality, fighting for more but I think on the whole, we’re able to not have separate jobs and make a good living and get more endorsements and appearances and stuff and I don’t think it’s that way all over the place. We’re lucky and we have every great resource at our disposal to be successful and to do do this as a living. So I’m very fortunate for that.

AE: And Nike is your major sponsor and they just held their first ever homophobia in sports summit in Portland a few weeks ago. So how important is it to you to represent a company that also represents that part of who you are? Do you ever feel like your personal life is part of professional life? Or are you trying to keep those things separate?
MR: Yeah, it is important. I think it’s awesome that Nike’s doing that. What company in the world is more recognizable than Nike? I think it’s huge and really cool they’re taking that stance. I feel like our public lives and our soccer lives and our private lives are all kind of mixed in, a little bit, together. People want to know our personalities and want to know what we’re like off the field. It’s not like we’re selling arbitrary products — it’s ourselves that we’re selling and ourselves that we’re representing so I do feel like it’s all mish-mashed up in one. Which is good, I think.

 

AE: Was your girlfriend out in the public? Was it kind of a group decision? Because you coming out and talking about having a girlfriend, if she wasn’t out already, she’s out now!
MR: That’s kind of how it went! No, she wasn’t. Yeah, she is now. I don’t think it was something she was looking to do. I guess I’m responsible for that but we definitely talked about it and she knew it would have an affect on her in some way but it wasn’t something she was looking to do but I think she’s really proud of me and incredibly supportive through all this.

AE: That’s great — do you guys even get to see each other? You live pretty different schedules!
MR: Yeah we do. She’s from Australia so we don’t see each other a lot but we make it work. Distance is only a temporary thing. We make it work. I think we kind of understand, I guess, this is only temporary. She’s worth the wait!

AE: Do you have a coming out story?
MR: It wasn’t until college. I didn’t know I was gay until college. Yeah, I just kind of told my roommates. Once you come out, you keep coming out. It was kind of like that for the whole family. They’ve been really supportive. I think they just love me. I think of course it took them a little time to get used to it. I was in college, so they’re like “You lived your whole life straight and now you’re gay,” but I think they’re used to it and see that I’m really happy and they love and support me.

AE: What do you do for fun when you’re not playing soccer? What are your interests?
MR: I like live music. I like to go to the beach.

AE: What are your favorite bands?
MR: Love Adele. Love Florence and the Machine. Love The Civil Wars. Missy Higgins. Gotta throw the popular pop songs in there every now and then! I love Florence. She’s just amazing.

AE: So you like live music, you like the beach — you like to relax.
MR: I like to relax. Love coffee. Love beer and wine — can’t deny that.

AE: Who were your heroes growing up?
MR: I’m a huge sports fan, probably loved it too much. So I loved Michael Jordan growing up. I was a huge Bulls fan. My dad’s from Chicago so I was a huge Michael Jordan fan. I had posters and the lifesize cut-outs.

AE: You used to play in Chicago and now you’re playing for the Seattle Sounders. Are you happy to be back playing for a Pacific Northwest team?
MR: I love Chicago. I had the best experience living there, it was so much fun. What an incredible city — there’s everything to do there. Great food, good music scene, the clubs — everything. It’s an incredible city. I didn’t do a winter in Chicago and I don’t think I want to, but I just loved living there April until August.

AE: What are you doing with your hair this summer?
MR: I’m still blonde. Probably the same — it’ll be short and noticeable on the field. My mom’s so happy because she can see it very easily on the field. She can pick me out very easily.

AE: Thanks so much Megan. We are rooting for you!

Tune into NBC on July 25 at 12 p.m. to see Megan and her teammates take on France.

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