The US women’s soccer team, which boasts five out LGBTQ players, captured their second straight FIFA World Cup victory on July 7 when they beat the Netherlands in the final round, 2-0.
The victory capped off a contentious couple of weeks during which out lesbian Megan Rapinoe, a co-captain, drew criticism from anti-LGBTQ President Donald Trump after she said during an interview with Eight by Eight that she is “not going to the fucking White House” in the event that her team wins the World Cup.
Trump ripped Rapinoe in a rambling tweet when he compared her refusal to visit the White House to the refusal by NBA teams to do the same. In the same tweet referencing the NBA, he boasted that “black unemployment is at the lowest level in our country’s history” before saying, “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS” and that she “should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear.”
In the end, Rapinoe finished the World Cup with six goals and two assists after tallying two goals and two assists in the 2015 World Cup.
In a July 4 interview on CNN, Ali Krieger, another out player on the team, backed up Rapinoe, saying of Trump, “I refuse to respect a man that warrants no respect.”
The team’s LGBTQ visibility came into the spotlight in a big way after the US defeated France in the quarterfinals when Rapinoe said, “Go gays! You can’t win a championship without gays on your team — it’s never been done before, ever. That’s science right there!”
The team’s other three out LGBTQ players are Tierna Davidson, Adrianna Franch, and Ashlyn Harris.
Following the team’s victory on July 7, Rapinoe again tweeted, “We already discussed this. Science is science. Gays rule.”
Harris, who is engaged to Krieger, posted a similar tweet at around the same time, saying, “GAYS rule. It’s science. And you are welcome.”
The matchup between the US and the Netherlands represented a significant moment in sports history because, like the American team, the Dutch team also had five out LGBTQ players. Both squads tied for the most out LGBTQ athletes on a given team in the World Cup this year.
The team is simultaneously in the midst of a monumental fight to gain pay equity with their male counterparts. Twenty-eight members of the women’s national team filed a lawsuit in March against the US Soccer Federation for discrimination. That lawsuit is ongoing.
In the meantime, the champions will celebrate their victory during a ticker-tape parade on July 10 in New York City down the Canyon of Heroes, which is on Broadway between Battery Park and City Hall.