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Drinks with Daniels: Megan Rapinoe talks becoming Seattle, U.S. soccer star and cultural icon

In the latest installment of "Drinks With Daniels," the soccer star reflects on her historic career with KING 5's Chris Daniels.

SEATTLE — For many people, Megan Rapinoe needs no introduction. 

She’s an Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion, and longtime star for Seattle's OL Reign. 

Rapinoe and her OL Reign teammates have been playing in a new home venue this year, moving into the expansive Lumen Field after several years at Cheney Field in Tacoma. 

Rapinoe recognizes the value of not only playing in a larger stadium that already was host to their MLS counterparts in the Seattle Sounders, but also puts them once again in the heart of the Emerald City.

"We're back in Seattle, playing games, which is amazing," Rapinoe said. "We've never really had like, a proper home. I feel like for the product that we have on the field and just the wild personalities that we have, like, lower on the sidelines just deserves to be in the stadium."

Rapinoe also is a central figure and leader for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. She and her teammates made waves when they filed a lawsuit against the against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) alleging unequal pay between the men's and women's teams in international competition.

The two sides eventually settled for $24 million, and the USSF pledged to equally compensate men and women in all friendlies and tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup.

"Yeah, I think it's an extremely difficult thing to do, first of all, to get that many people on board to do the same thing," Rapinoe told KING 5. "Everybody's in a different position.

"I think still, it's a massive settlement. And I think obviously, the best thing is going forward that, you know, no, no player for the US Women's National Team will ever have to experience that again, and they'll just be set up so much better."

Rapinoe is also an author, actress, model, and fierce advocate on social justice issues. 

She drew both widespread praise and ire when she chose to echo NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and kneel during the national anthem ahead of several USWNT matches in 2016.

"I think with the kneeling, it became really clear really quick," Rapinoe said. "Like, I kind of got the game immediately. It was like, the more outrage I got, I was like, oh, that's like, I'm actually doing the right thing and saying the right thing, what I think is the right thing."

Former President Donald Trump was among the most vocal critics, first pushing back after Rapinoe emphatically declared she would not visit the White House if the USWNT won the 2019 World Cup.

Even after he left the White House, Trump lamented the "woke" USWNT for not being focused enough on winning during their run in the Tokyo Olympics, which ended with a bronze medal.

"We're just like, the antithesis of who he is," Rapinoe told KING 5 of the former president. "But he actually likes it because we're really kind of like, not really arrogant, but you know, kinda and we're like very confident.

"I feel like he was actually like, you know, trying to be a fan, but then he knew that he couldn't so then he had this like, you know, tantrum mantrum on Twitter."


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