Ballon d’Or winner Megan Rapinoe has said the support of the US men’s players union in their equal pay dispute is “much appreciated” as the USWNT prepare for their opening match of the SheBelieves Cup against England on Thursday.
“They have been a little light on statements before,” said the forward. “You need to be educated if you weigh in and it seems like they took time to make the statement they wanted but I have been saying for a long time that we all have to stand together.”
The statement of the US National Soccer Team Players Association states that they feel the need to go public because “the Federation has been working very hard to sell a false narrative to the public and even to members of Congress. They have been using this false narrative as a weapon against current and former members of the United States Women’s National Team.”
Rapinoe reciprocated the backing, saying of their male counterparts: “They think they deserve more money too. They said that if they are being underpaid it’s likely we are being underpaid too so it was a nice show of support and I look forward to more solidarity between the two teams.”
Teammate Julie Ertz echoed Rapinoe’s sentiments. “Huge,” she said. “The support of men is incredible. It’s important. We cannot do it alone, I think that was huge for us and great to hear.”
Rapinoe added that although she does not see an outcome to the dispute soon, she is “very confident of a positive outcome”.
The 34-year-old also reflected on how much she has been pulled away from football since last summer’s World Cup victory and her personal journey on and off the pitch. Life has “changed dramatically”, she said. “It’s not in a completely different way, there are just 10 times more of everything.
“It’s been something to get used to, but I do feel I’m getting a better handle on it now. It was all a little overwhelming in the fall if I’m honest.
“The opportunity for financial success right now is far greater than it was but that means more days on shoots, it means more days been given to other people and it’s less days focusing and committing to the game and my craft.
“You’ve got to roll with it, you can’t get too stressed out about it.
“First and foremost, I want to remain a footballer, most definitely. I’m not looking to retire any time soon. I’m fully focused on the Olympics and making sure I’m prepared for that. After that, we will assess things and see where we go from there.”
Having come out in support of US senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for the democratic nomination to run for president, Rapinoe sighed when asked of how Super Tuesday had impacted her, calling “still team Warren!” as she was led away by her press team.