Lesbian U.S soccer player Megan Rapinoe has been named FIFA’s Best Women’s Player in the World, according to Sports Illustrated.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) September 23, 2019
The Women’s National Team star was honored with the Golden Ball for top player in Milan at FIFA’s Best gala. She won the award for bringing the team to victory at the Women’s World Cup; the win was the U.S.’s second straight World Cup title and fourth overall. Rapinoe was also awarded the Golden Boot for top goal-scorer.
In her acceptance speech, Rapinoe called for change worldwide.
“I ask everyone here… lend your platform to other people,” she said. “Lift other people up. Share your success. We have a unique opportunity in football… to use this beautiful game to actually change the world for better. So that’s my charge to everyone. I hope you take that to heart and do something, do anything.”
Rapinoe also noted her inspirations in her speech, paying tribute to Collin Martin, the only openly gay player in Major League Soccer, and “the countless other female out LGBTQ players who fight so hard every day to a) just play the sport that they love, but b) also, despite the rampant homophobia we [face].”
“If everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players… If everybody was as outraged about equal pay or the lack thereof or the lack of investment in the women’s game [by] other than just women,” she said, “that would be the most inspiring thing to me.”
Rapinoe has been outspoken throughout the season, first making waves after saying she “wasn’t going to the f***ing White House” if the team won the World Cup. Since then, she hasn’t been afraid to be critical of the Trump administration, telling CNN in an interview that Trump’s “message is excluding people… excluding me… people that look like me… people of color… Americans that maybe support [him].”