Whatever your thoughts on Megan Rapinoe’s political opinions, there is no denying her greatness on the field.
After the U.S. women’s national soccer team beat the Netherlands 2-0 to win the World Cup for a fourth time on Sunday, Rapinoe was then honored personally with two other awards—the Golden Boot for most goals scored during the month-longs tournament and the Golden Ball, which recognizes her as the tournament’s best player.
Rapinoe is a North State native, hailing from the community of Palo Cedro. Leading up to the big game, Rapinoe was put in the spotlight not only for her soccer skills but also for her stance on gender equality and women’s rights, and for kneeling before the national anthem. She has also been in a well-publicized Twitter feud with President Trump after publicly stating she wouldn’t attend a congratulatory ceremony at the White House if asked.
Near her hometown, a viewing party was held Sunday morning at the California Soccer Park in Redding. There, no one seemed to mind if Rapinoe mixed politics with sports.
Jim Gawel, who lives in Washington state, came all the way to Redding to watch Rapinoe, who also plays for his favorite team the Seattle Reign. He said professional athletes can use their political position to make change happen so he supports Rapinoe’s statements.
“Plus it has to do with women’s rights, and the fact that she’s basically sticking up for the inequality between the men’s and women’s teams, and women’s sports and men’s sports,” Gawel said. “And so if Trump wants to step into that mess and show his hand as being a non-supporter and not a real feminist then that’s his own downfall.”
Trump did tweet his congratulations to the team following the victory in Nice, France. It was the second world cup victory for Rapinoe, who also won gold at the Olympics in 2012 and celebrated her 34th birthday on Friday.