Megan Rapinoe, the women's football star whose two penalties against Spain earned the United States their place in Friday’s world cup quarter-final against France, as just as unassailable off the pitch.
“Do not f**k with me,” she tweeted earlier this year. It was a warning that President Donald Trump might have heeded.
With the U.S. team among the favourites to win the Women’s World Cup in France, Rapinoe was asked whether she would visit the visit the White House if invited to celebrate victory.
“Pfft, I’m not going to the f***ing White House,” she quickly responded. (Several of her teammates have also indicated they wouldn’t attend, either.)
Trump railed at her “disrespect” for country and flag.
Undeterred, Rapinoe explained that she wouldn’t want the success of the U.S. women's soccer team, which has been at the forefront of campaigns for equality, to be “co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way and doesn’t fight for the same things that we fight for.”
The star player said she stood by her comments — except for the swearing. “My mom will be very upset about that,” she said.
Born in Redding, California, she has five siblings and will celebrate her 34th birthday next Friday.
She currently plays for plays for Seattle Reign FC as a midfielder and winger and is an advocate for LGBT causes, having come out in 2012.
When deadly wildfires raged through her hometown last summer, she was quick to help the fundraising and to praise the emergency crews who saved dozens from the flames.
As well as tweeting about football and her own fashion brand, she is happy to use her social media presence to draw attention to politics and causes.
In 2016, she began kneeling during the national anthem in support of NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the song.
The protest was outlawed by U.S. soccer authorities, but Rapinoe said she couldn’t “stand idly by” while other Americans were the victims of deadly police brutality.
"I can understand if you think that I'm disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way,” she explained.