Megan Rapinoe speaks against racism, homophobia as she receives FIFA Women’s Player Award

Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe won the women’s player award – ahead of fellow American Alex Morgan and England’s Lucy Bronze – at the Best Fifa Football Awards in Milan.

Rapinoe, 34, claimed the Golden Ball for being the best player at the 2019 Women’s World Cup as she helped the United States win the competition.

Lyon right-back Bronze, 27, was named in the women’s team of the year – the only English player to feature.

Rapinoe’s international boss, Jill Ellis, took the women’s coach award.

The other managers to be nominated were the Netherlands’ Sarina Wiegman, whose side lost 2-0 in the final to the United States, and England’s Phil Neville, who guided the Lionesses to fourth place.

 

In a powerful speech when collecting her award, Rapinoe highlighted the racism, homophobia and inequalities that she said still exist in football.

She said: “Some of the stories that inspired me this year are[Manchester City forward] Raheem Sterling and [Napoli defender] Kalidou Koulibaly – their incredible performances on the field and their reaction to the disgusting racism they have to take.

“If we really want to have meaningful change, if everyone other than Sterling or Koulibaly was outraged, if everyone was outraged by the homophobia… We have such an incredible opportunity being professional footballers, so much success, an incredible platform.

“I ask everyone here, lend your platform to other people, share your success. We have a unique opportunity to use this game to actually change the world for better. I hope you take that to heart, do something, we have incredible power in this room.”

Rapinoe, who plays for Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League, added: “I want to thank my family, my friends, thank you for all my support you’ve given me and all the coaches I’ve had in my life.

“Jill Ellis and the rest have put us in a great position. This was an incredible year for women’s football. For those who just noticed you are a bit late to the party. It truly was incredible, to be part of the World Cup, the enthusiasm we had was amazing.”

BBC

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