Megan Rapinoe, the captain of the U.S. women’s soccer national team, was named Sports Illustrated’s 2019 Sportsperson of the Year, the magazine announced Monday.
Rapinoe, 34, with her spiky purple hair and vocal views about racism, sexism and homophobia, is just the fourth woman in Sports Illustrated’s 66-year history to win the award as a solo competitor. She joins Chris Evert (1976), Mary Decker (1983) and Serena Williams (2015).
While Rapinoe has enjoyed a successful 2019 on the pitch, she has also been vocal in her desire to speak out on some of the modern issues affecting football such as racism, sexism and homophobia.
Three months before the U.S. women's soccer team won the World Cup in France, Rapinoe led the way as her teammates sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay, Sports Illustrated reported. She also declared before the tournament that the squad would not visit the White House "when" they won the World Cup.
Rapinoe put the U.S. squad ahead in the 61st minute of the World Cup final July 7 against the Netherlands, scoring on a penalty kick to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
The goal prompted Rapinoe to strike "The Pose," with her arms outstretched, chin up and head tipped back, Sports Illustrated reported. The magazine called it "the signature sporting image of 2019."
Rapinoe won the World Cup’s Golden Boot, scoring six goals and adding six assists.
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