July 15, 2019
While the female soccer star, Megan Rapinoe might be better known, her twin, Rachael is making waves with her love for the sport and humanitarian work.
With shared talent, the twins first played together for Elk Grove United before they signed with the Portland Pilots. At 18-years-old, their team placed second at the 2003 U-19 national championship, but obligations with the national squad prevented Megan from playing college soccer the next year.
In 2005, the twins played together for the Pilots the entire season, but then their career trajectories changed.
Megan became national Freshman of the Year while Rachael, also a defender like her sister, struggled to get off the bench due to fatigue caused by undiagnosed anemia.
Sports injuries soon began taking its toll. During the 2006 season, Megan tore an ACL 11 games into the season while Rachael’s health improved after her anemia got diagnosed and treated.
The following season both sisters tore their ACL’s, with Rachael suffered the same injury again during the 2008 season.
While injuries hampered Rachael’s career as a soccer player, she decided to put her M.S. in Health Studies and Exercise to good use and brought Rapinoe SC to life.
“Sport is the intersect between people and our mission. We use our performance & soccer training and national training events to instill our philosophies of working hard, having fun, and dreaming big. These philosophies are spread to people of all ages and backgrounds. We believe there are endless amounts of untapped potential in everyone,” the website stated their mission.
Rachael began training the women’s soccer team at the University of Portland along with several competitive clubs but is also part of i-ACT, a nonprofit organization that helped establish the first Darfur United Soccer Academy for girls and boys in Eastern Chad in 2013.
The nonprofit won the Peace and Sports NGO of the Year award in 2012 for their work with the men’s Darfur United soccer team, who competed in the 2012 VIVA World Cup for nationless people.
Few programs focus on psycho-social and trauma support, and the program at the new Soccer Academy does just that.
As the first organized sports program for children in the refugee camps, it offers them a safe environment to play in while it fosters unity and self-esteem.
At first, the refugee-led Academy will serve 2,000 youth at the first refugee camp, which they aim to expand to include all 12 Darfuri refugee camps along the Chad-Sudan border.
As the owner of Rapinoe Soccer Camps, Rachael became Darfur United’s first Coach Ambassador and will train the first four female coaches.
“I’ve spent my entire life learning and trying to master the beautiful game of football, and now I am lucky enough to share this knowledge with others. I have coached at many levels, from youth to universities, trying to instill positivity, inspiration, and encouragement in all players of all ages,” Rachael said.
In 2019, during an interview, Rachael made her dedication towards equality clear as she told The Guardian, “You know what? I’m going to fight for equal pay every day for myself, for my team, and for every single person out there, man, woman, immigrant, US citizen, a person of color, whatever it may be. ‘Equal pay,’ as the great Serena Williams said, ‘Until I’m in my grave.’”
The US won the World Cup four times, twice during which Rachael had been part of the team, and in 2019, Megan did the same.
Their win over the Netherlands gave Megan, who is also an advocate for the LGBT community, the opportunity to further her cause.
After the US won the game, Megan Rapinoe shared a celebratory kiss with her girlfriend that had the gay community buzzing with excitement.
June 12, 2019