Washington Examiner

Megan Rapinoe named to 2023 USWNT Women’s World Cup roster, despite past anthem protests

The U.S. Women’s National Team announced its roster for the 2023 Women’s World Cup on Wednesday.

Controversial American women’s soccer player and activist Megan Rapinoe was one of the 23 women named to the roster. Along with Alex Morgan and Kelley O’Hara, this is her fourth Women’s World Cup team.


Rapinoe will be a part of the group of women athletes that will represent the United States in Australia and New Zealand this summer at the event. The first match for the team will be on July 21 against Vietnam.

“The task of selecting a World Cup Team is never easy, but I’m proud of the players for their work ethic and focus during the process and of our coaching staff for doing the work to put together the best team possible,” head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “It’s the players that make the biggest impact on our environment, they push each other to be better, and I know as a group they are extremely motivated to make our country proud at the World Cup. Every player has a different journey to get to this point, so our roster has some amazing stories, and we have a really good mix of veterans and younger players.”

Rapinoe became a household name in 2016 when she knelt during the national anthem ahead of Seattle Reign’s NWSL game against the Chicago Red Stars. According to the soccer player, it was a nod to former professional football player and activist Colin Kaepernick and “was very intentional.”

“I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country,” she said at the time.

Then, the athlete took it a step further, kneeling while wearing the USWNT uniform during an exhibition match against Thailand. Afterward, U.S. Soccer released a statement disapproving of the act. “As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played,” it said.


However, by 2021, nearly the entire team was participating in the kneeling protest. In an Olympic match against Australia in August 2021, Carli Lloyd was the only USWNT member who did not take a knee.

Most recently, Rapinoe made waves by advocating against legislation that would prevent transgender women from competing on sports teams meant for biological women. “Today, politicians in DC are claiming to ‘protect women’s sports’ by pushing a trans & intersex sports ban. Call your Congressional rep today to say women’s sports need protection from unequal pay, sexual abuse & lack of resources, NOT from trans kids. #LetKidsPlay,” she tweeted in March.

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