United States star Megan Rapinoe has revealed she only has equal pay and the next generation on her mind when wearing the national team shirt.
Watch Megan Rapinoe take centre-stage in the latest Sportswoman episode on SBS from 3:00pm (AEDT) this Sunday, March 21.
Rapinoe and her USWNT teammates have been engaged in an equal pay dispute with the US Soccer Federation since March 2019, having filed a lawsuit prior to their FIFA Women’s World Cup victory in France.
Both parties settled on an unequal working condition claim outside of court in December last year, which has since allowed players to appeal wage discrimination claims under the Equal Pay Act.
Such off-field affairs would normally make representing the federation a little conflicting, but for Rapinoe, it doesn’t even cross her mind.
“I would much rather be spending my time doing absolutely anything else other than fighting the federation all the time for something I feel like I deserve,” the 35-year-old told ESPN.
“For me, when I pull on the shirt, I’m not thinking about the federation. I see them (US Soccer executives) pulling up to the game and I think: that’s cute, that’s nice.
“I feel like I pull on this shirt for equal pay and for the fans and for kids who want to be in my position. So that never feels in conflict.”
The 2019 Ballon d’Or Feminin winner has been an advocate for change in women’s football and believes her bid for equal pay is helped by the increase in viewership not just for international fixtures, but the NWSL too.
America’s top tier of domestic football saw a significant increase in ratings last year, with the Challenge Cup an attractive proposition for fans during the initial wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s ironic all the time,” Rapinoe told ESPN. “We play in full stadiums most of the time.
“We win most of the games. Sponsorships for all of us individually are up. We won the World Cup. We entertain.
"We do everything we are asked to do so it is frustrating... I feel they (US Soccer Federation) have a real opportunity to invest in the future.
"All this time and money could be going to make U.S. Soccer the best federation in the world."
The US women’s national team are scheduled to face France in Stockholm next month, in what is part of a two-game tour ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July.