US football superstar Megan ‘Pinoe’ Rapinoe, whose cross to Abby Wambach made history in the 2011 Women’s World Cup and gave millions goosebumps all over, is currently holidaying in Australia. She kindly sat down with Girls FC to answer our (and your) questions and tell us about the shirt and song that have been dedicated to her, whether we can coax her to play in the Westfield W-League, and how 10 September is now Megan Rapinoe Day in her hometown...
US football superstar Megan ‘Pinoe- Rapinoe, whose cross to Abby Wambach made history in the 2011 Women-s World Cup and gave millions goosebumps all over, is currently holidaying in Australia. She kindly sat down with Girls FC to answer our (and your) questions and tell us about the shirt and song that have been dedicated to her, whether we can coax her to play in the Westfield W-League, and how 10 September is now Megan Rapinoe Day in her hometown…
Our fan numbers reached 4000 (big by Australian standards, particularly as women-s football is in its early days here) the moment we said we were interviewing you, so we have to say a massive thanks! We-ve also got to admit that we-re both incredibly excited and incredibly nervous to be speaking to you. Do you find that people are a bit like that around you these days?
I'm really happy to be doing this. It's not that often that national team athletes get to do stuff with other federations, so it's quite unique and cool, at least I think so. And I am extremely flattered that you-re excited and from the 4000 fans it sounds like others people are as well! Ok let's get rolling!
You have an awesome surname, which lends itself to a fantastic nickname. Does anyone ever call you by your first name?
I'm glad you love it, because it is one of my most favorite things about me! I love that I have a creative nickname as well, as my given name is a bit boring, I think. It comes from my dad obviously, but only people in our family have it in the USA. My family, loved ones, and close friends are really the only people that call me Megan. Sometimes my teammates will but they don't get a response usually—it-s so foreign to be called that in the football setting.
How much more recognisable have you been since that Women-s World Cup cross?
It's amazing how much more recognisable the whole team has become after the World Cup. We are actually being recognised most places that we go. It-s wild, strange, and flattering. Maybe Abby and Hope had this before but not rest of us. This white mop I carry around on my head doesn't hurt either. It catches people's eye, I guess.
What-s the media coverage been like after the event compared with before?
The media coverage is insane. We just had two friendly matches and both were close to sold out. Right after the World Cup we were on basically every morning show and a lot of the major later night shows. Hope is on Dancing with the Stars!
I think we have managed to permanently put ourselves in the media-s eye, not just when we have games or around a world championship, but just in general now. It is truly amazing. And we didn't even win the World Cup!
We saw one moment where Hope Solo was kicking footballs into moving taxis on Letterman or similar. What-s the most bizarre media you-ve had to do since the WWC?
The most bizarre media has been being contacted by the Australian football federation for an interview ;). Just messin-. The most bizarre thing I have had to do was judge a handshake contest at and Irish pub! Which was amazing by the way (my teammate Lori Lindsey and I are known for having some pretty stupid and childish but amazing handshakes while in tour).
Everyone-s talking about that cross, but which other footballing moment would you nominate as a career highlight?
The penalty I had in the same game vs Brazil was one of my prouder moments. I had actually missed my last four pens dating back to college before that, but I kept that secret from the gaffer! On the biggest stage, with the most pressure I could have, in the World Cup I managed to look like I wasn't cool and collected. Nobody needs to know I wasn't.
Also my first ever World Cup goal, which came in the second game vs Columbia. For me, scoring a goal is the ultimate feeling in football. I am for sure a striker at heart.
Will you be doing any training/going to/making a cameo in any Westfield W-League games while you-re here in Australia? What-s the plan while you-re visiting?
As far as my plans while I am here just relax and enjoy the fact that my cell phone doesn't work, the beach is two blocks away, and Australia has some of the world-s best shopping! Heading to Melbourne this weekend to see if that's true!
What does you do to stay fit during vacation/down time? (@Deegley)
I think staying decently fit during the off-season is the key to being really fit during the season (Kristine Lilly and Christie Rampone taught me that one! Took me a while to figure it out, though! Haha!). I love yoga, the beach, I try to surf but I totally suck and my arms get too tired, biking when I can, and playing pick-up soccer. Pick-up or playing for fun doesn't feel like training for me, so it's a good outlet from typical training.
Favourite sports movie? And what do you think of Australia? (@scarpix)
My favorite sports movie is Remember the Titans. And s far as Australia goes, I love it here! It is one of my favorite places on earth, and if you'll have me, at some point I'd love to try living here. There is no place like Australia. So unique. I think it fits my personality as well.
You missed the 2007 WWC and the 2008 Olympics through injury—did it make this WWC all the more special for you?
This World Cup was extremely special to me. I was on the bubble for the last round of world championships, but I do believe that if I was fully fit I would have made those teams. Being 26 and this being my first World Cup I think I did really appreciate what I had accomplished and what I was about to experience, to a certain extent. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and will cherish it and remember it forever. It made the six months prior, which were draining and travel-filled and spent mostly away from my loved ones so worth it! For a footballer, that is THE stage.
You-re one of the most prolific goalscorers in the US/WPS. Any tips?
Prolific is a bit of a stretch! Haha, I wish I was! I love scoring goals and I think to be a good or great goalscorer you have to be hungry for the goal and throw your self out there and take risks to get on the end of things. Be fearless!
You juggled sport and study well. How-d you do it?
Going to college and playing a sport was really difficult at times, but for me the busier I am the better I stay on task. I am the ultimate procrastinator, so if I have extra time floating around that is a danger zone for me. My advice is be in the moment and sink yourself into it, whether that be writing a paper or playing in a match. Don't try to do everything at once; it's too overwhelming.
You-ve come back from two serious knee injuries. How tricky has that been? Have you had to adjust anything about the way you train/play?
Coming back from the knee reconstructions was probably the most trying time in my life to date. That experience definitely taught me and made me appreciate things so much more and really made me realise how much I love football. Not that I didn't know that before, but when something that important is taken from you in a matter of seconds, it's a rude awakening! I am much more conscious of my body now, and know that my body is my livelihood and I have to work to keep myself fit and healthy and on the pitch. My body is my job and vice versa.
The US went down to Sweden in the group stage and Australia went down to them during the quarterfinals. Australia went down to Brazil 1-0, while you took them out with that cross. Seems we have a lot of common interests…
Haha, yes we do! Strange how things work out. I have a lot of friends who play for the Westfield Matildas whom I met thru the WPS, and although it would have been nice to see them, I much preferred the high-stakes drama of the Brazil game!
You now have a day named after you in your hometown. Can you tell us about that?
Ah, yes 10 September is now officially Megan Rapinoe day in Redding, California! I mean, that is just crazy to be to be from such a small town and to have the kind of support that I have back home. It makes me quite shy actually to think that I have a day—almost embarrassed, but then again I am so proud to have ignited little ole Redding in the way that I did! It's wild to say the least.
Can you explain what the ESPN Next Level Player of the Week is?
I was away when this was donned on me actually, at the World Cup. I believe it is given to an athlete who during a given week does something above and beyond normal, something maybe that have not even done before. To an athlete who raised their game to a place it had not been before prior to that week. At least I think so!? Haha.
You-re now known as the US-s ‘super sub-. Do you prefer being an impact player or playing the full 90?
I definitely prefer to. Play 90 minutes. I do think I was very effective coming off the bench, but I was also very effective and dangerous in the final and I played close to 120 minutes. So, as much as super sub is nice, I want to be in the pitch all the time.
Which footballer (male or female) is your inspiration?
Andres Iniesta is of the world-s greatest footballers at the moment. He is very subtle at times, but so beautiful to watch. Barcelona in general are a footballing orgasm.
You-re active on Twitter and have a stack of followers. How key has it been to your career/life on the road?
I don't know how key Twitter is to my life, but it is definitely a really cool way to stay connected and interactive with my fans and people that I am fans of. I was a serious hater for a long time, but wow has that changed. It's a really cool thing.
Being able to travel the world and meet people from all over is so special, and this is just one more fun easy interactive way to do that. Twitter also led me to the creator or the Pinoe hair t-shirt that Nike has been selling! That is pretty amazing that a person—from Kansas, I believe—got Nike to make a shirt for a girl from Redding? Oh, the power of Twitter.
A place that you-ve never been, but wants to travel to? Favorite song lyrics of all time? (@gi_ross)
To be honest, I am a total travel nut and every place that I have not been I want to go. For the sake of the question, Barcelona on game day! My favorite song of all time and has been for ages is After All by Dar Williams.
What do you hate about the celeb vibe (so we don-t annoy you when we see you at a game)? (@Anna3500)
Celeb vibe? I'm not annoyed by fans. Really, it's amazing that we have this many. But I will say be assertive and don't say sorry. If you want a pic have your camera ready and just get my attention and snap away. None of this ‘I'm really sorry to bother you but…- You're not sorry and you shouldn-t be! Just get in! I think it's awesome that we have fans!
Who was your idol growing up? Do you follow any other leagues?
My idol growing up was Michael Jordan. And I follow the EPL and La Liga and a little of the Bundesliga and Serie A. Bust mostly EPL and La Liga.
It-s a long flight down under. Books/movies you enjoyed on the plane?
On my flight to Australia this time, I actually slept for like 9.5 hours! Mostly I enjoy sleeping, but if that is not possible I am reading Just Kids by Patti smith right now, and I love docos!
You have a shirt about your hair and a song about your skills. Can you tell us about them?
The shirt with my big head on it and the song about my skills are all Twitter products, created by fans during the World Cup. Both are really cool actually, makes me crack up anytime I see or hear them! There are some really creative Tweeples out there! Nike actually picked out the shirt and have been selling them, which is so outta this world rash I cant even grasp it! Hilarious and amazing.
Football or soccer?
I def prefer to say football. Even though I don't always say it, it-s the proper way and how the rest of the world does it. Leave it to America to change the name of the world game! Haha ?
Do you have another job other than football (or can you play full time)?
I do not have another job other than football. We are really fortunate in America to have such support from our federation, the pro league, and our sponsors to not have to work as well.
Can you tell us about your singing/dancing goal celebrations?
I am not totally sure where my celebrations come from, but I am not in control of them! They just explode out of me! Well actually, the singing into the big fuzzy microphone was my best friend on the team Lori Lindsey-s idea, so props to her! Other than that I am a really emotional person. And scoring a goal is one of life-s ultimate feelings for me. Singing and dancing is like an emotion for me!
I mean, what happens when you are too excited to just walk and talk? You run, dance, sing, freak out, kick corner flags, jump on people running at full pace almost injuring them, and just absolutely rejoice and celebrate the moment. Well, that-s what I do anyway. Scoring a goal is more than just getting a point or taking a shot, for a footballer it-s a feeling. And damn good one at that.