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11 Questions With Megan Rapinoe

U.S. Under-19 forward Megan Rapinoe, one of three Megan’s on the world championship roster (along with Meghan Schnur and Meagan Holmes), is convinced that she spells her name the way it’s supposed to be spelled.  The University of Portland-bound striker hails from northern, northern California, in Redding, just a two-hour drive from the Oregon border.  She took some time out after the USA’s team meeting for the match against Russia to answer some questions for You have a fraternal twin sister, Rachael, who also plays for the University of Portland. What things about you two are most alike and what is most different?
Megan Rapinoe: “We’re both pretty funny and we both like to laugh a lot.  It’s kind of a twins’ cliché, but we do finish each other’s sentences.  She is more outgoing than me at first.  She’s a social butterfly.  She makes all the plans and I kind of follow along.  She also worries a lot more than me and stresses out.  I’m pretty mellow. She was born 11 minutes before me so I guess she’s more like the mom.” Some say you have a flamboyant style of play.  How would you describe it and how did you develop it?
MR: “I like to be creative and different and I like to try new things too. It’s just more fun.  I guess you could say that has transferred to my soccer.  I play that way in basketball too.  Me and my sister throw alley-oops to each other and I like to handle the ball.  If you can be creative on the field or the court, it makes it more fun for people to watch.” You grew up in Redding, Calif., about four hours north of San Francisco.  How did an international caliber player develop in that girl’s soccer outpost?
MR: “Well, when I was 11 I played with an older, traveling boys team that played in Sacramento.  We had a girl’s team in Redding for a couple years, but there wasn’t enough interest, so after that I would travel to Sacramento two and a half hours starting when I was freshman to get the best competition.  I also grew up across the street from a soccer field and me and my sister and cousins just used to play all sorts of sports.” Should Northern California just go ahead and become a different state than Southern California? 
MR: “It’s so different.  People think of California, they think of LA, San Diego, Huntington Beach, sun and surf.  Where I live, we have all four seasons, it’s hotter than heck in the summer and it rains a lot in the winter.  Even when you do go west enough to the ocean, it’s cold.  The people are also different.  We have a lot more “mountain” people where I live.  Maybe they should just put the new state line right over Sacramento.” What are your impressions of Phuket, Thailand so far?
MR: “Absolutely amazing. It is the most gorgeous place I’ve ever been.  Everyone is so nice and so happy to have us here.  They seem so proud to be hosting the tournament and showing us their country.  The hotel is great, the food is good and the ocean is awesome.  The stadium is also great.  Everything has been great.  I would love to come back here on vacation, but it takes like 25 hours to get here.” Some say you are the most musical person on the team.  You brought your guitar and bought a drum here.  What does music mean to you?
MR: “It’s just a way of self-expression, but I love listening to music because you can relate it to any mood your are in or situation you are going through.  It’s a way to get away from everything and playing guitar is really relaxing for me.  Kind of like meditation I guess.” You are going to enroll at the University of Portland in the spring.  What made you choose UP?
MR: “My mom made us take an official visit there and I wasn’t to keen on them at the time.  It was the first of three official visits (her and her sister) took and the area is just gorgeous.  It’s green all the time.  Yeah, it rains a lot, but I don’t really care about that.  There is a lot of diversity in the people and things to do in Portland and I really enjoyed the players on the team.  They seemed like really genuine people.  Obviously, it’s a great soccer program that Clive Charles built and the alumni that come back and support the team make it a special place.” Dedicated readers of saw the picture of you jumping in the air to congratulate Angie Woznuk after she scored against South Korea.  Did you know you had such hops?
MR: “My legs were bent so it’s kind of deceiving, but I guess I was pretty high.  I did do the long jump and triple jump in high school, and my freshman year they called me “hops” on the basketball team.  But that moment was just awesome.  It was our first goal in the tournament and even though it wasn’t off the run of play, I was so happy that Wozzy got it.  She’s one of our leaders and it was great that she got the first goal.” What are your impressions of your first match in a world championship?
MR: “It was crazy.  Walking down the tunnel and seeing all those people was awesome. It was great to have so many people there.  The fans were great and the drums were going the whole time.  Things were a bit frantic in the beginning and I think we were a little nervous, but once we started playing the nerves went away.  We had been preparing for so long I knew we were ready.” We hear you are an avid snowboarder.  Have you mastered the mountain?
MR: “No, I haven’t mastered it, but I love going up to Mt. Shasta, which is an hour north of my house.  It’s just so fun.  You go with big group of high school friends, it’s so pretty and usually there is pretty good snow.  It’s just such a free way to do sports, there are no rules or refs or score.  You don’t have to be amazing to have a good time, you can just slide down the hill.  It’s very relaxing and the social part is fun.” Players say that listening to your national anthem while in the starting lineup for a match in the world championship is just different than hearing it any other time.  Was it?
MR: “It definitely was.  They played ours second and that got us even more pumped for the game.   Plus, we are in a different country, thousands of miles from home, and it just means more.  I don’t usually sing, but for some reason I just belted it out and I could here other people singing too.  You just get this excited feeling to representing your country in a world championship.”