Updated: Aug 1, 2019
By Nick Shimkin
This past Sunday the United States Women’s National Team won the FIFA World Cup, besting Sweden 2-0 in the final. Goals came from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle to cap off a dominant performance. This years team has been surrounded by a high amount a controversy, much of which is sourced from team Captain, Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner Megan Rapinoe. Her distaste for President Trump, her passionate refusal to visit the White House, opting not to put her hand over her heart or sing during the national anthem and her overall mentality of social justice has made Rapinoe one of the more polarizing figures in sports history. The people who love her love her and the people who hate her hate her. But there is something about the woman with the short purple hair that commands attention. Her speech at the victory Ticker Tape parade for the USWNT was absolutely riveting and well spoken, her play on the field is prepotent and while I may not agree with what she is doing all of the time, she is charismatic on and off the field. My complaint is her disrespect for the flag and anthem (the greatest song of all time), while representing the United States of America and wearing the crest. It’s disgusting and blatant, but the people keep tuning in. And unfortunately it’s good for women’s soccer and women’s sports in general. Whether people want to see her score a hat trick or see her get slide tackled into oblivion, people want to see her. I only hope this transcends past the World Cup and will draw viewers to women’s club soccer, specifically the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL is the club home of the nations best players, including Rapinoe (Seattle Reign), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit) and Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns). Although a relatively unknown and certainly under-appreciated league, the fans provide an energy and passion that is tough to replicate. Unfortunately, Rapinoe is 34 years old, meaning she will likely have a few more club seasons, the Olympics and if she’s lucky one more World Cup. Regardless, her mark has already been made. She has brought the most attention to the National Team and soccer as a whole since Mia Hamm. Whether she is good for society is neither up to me nor important to me. I am a pure sportsman. The work she is doing on the field and the attention to soccer she’s bringing is magnificent. The fact that she is good for sport is what matters.