There are no pictures of his family. “When you look at your pictures, it hurts,” he says. "If you’ve got ‘em up on the wall, you’d look at them all day, and you don’t want to hurt all day long.”
But the soccer games; that’s something different, that’s a distraction. His sister is Megan Rapinoe, left mid for the U.S. National Team, and everybody in prison – the deputies, the inmates, the doctor – knows it. Megan, known as “Pinoe,” has platinum blonde hair; Brian has a mohawk. Megan has two discreet tattoos - “nature ran her course” on her inner bicep, and an Arabic script that translates to “trust yourself” on her wrist. Brian’s tattoos creep up his neck, behind his ears, down his arms, chest and back. Hairstyle and body décor aside, they look identical. “Sometimes I look in the mirror and see him,” says Rapinoe. Their eyes, nose, smile, and charisma are the same.
They grew up together in a giant familial clan in rural California – six siblings and dozens of cousins traipsing through the countryside. Megan and her twin sister Rachael were the youngest. Brian was the next up in age, five years older.
“He’s funny and charming and lovable, the kind of guy everybody wanted to be around,” says Rapinoe. The twins followed him everywhere, running after the chickens, tramping through the woods, riding bikes across the fields. Brian’s the one who taught them how to fish for crawfish in the creek, luring the small crustaceans into a bucket via bacon and chunks of hot dog.
He’s also the one who got them into soccer. He played first, and their mother Denise coached his team. “She didn’t know squat about soccer, still doesn’t,” laughs Brian on a phone call from the Vista Detention Facility. “The only thing my mom knows about soccer is how to paint soccer balls on her fingernails.” But she went out there and tried anyway. And Megan and Rachael were the three-year-olds along the sideline always chasing after the ball. The family lived across the street from a church with a big soccer field, and everyday Brian would take them over there - the nine-year-old showing the four-year-olds how it was done.
While Rachael was shy, Megan was more like Brian: she liked to crack jokes, she didn’t mind being center stage. “I idolized him,” says Rapinoe. “I wanted to do whatever he did.” If he got a bowl cut, she got a bowl cut. If he walked around shirtless, Megan walked around shirtless. He loved to play; she loved to play. He wore jersey No. 7; she wore jersey No. 7. He played on the left wing; she played on the left wing.
“Megan and Rachael followed me in some ways,” says Brian. “But I’m really glad they didn’t in others.”Read more
The United States Women’s National Team earned a 3-1 victory in its opening match of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. A partisan crowd was on hand in Winnipeg, with 31,148 fans mostly supporting the #USWNT.
Midfielder Carli Lloyd is in the midst of her third World Cup cycle and understands just how influential fan support can be when playing in a tournament of this magnitude. “I remember in previous games at the beginning of my career when we weren’t really getting a lot of fans at our games, but there’s just something in the air now,” said Lloyd. “To have that many fans at a game inspires you. It’s like our 12th man out there and it really helps us on the field. “
And the implications are larger than a single attendance statistic. The USWNT sold out all three Send-Off Series matches last month averaging over 23,000 fans per game. Prior to the 2011 World Cup, there was a single send-off match that only drew 5,852 supporters.
“It was an amazing crowd. I remember walking out [on Monday] and just looking around,” said the veteran midfielder. “It’s just great to see for women’ s soccer in general.”
Fans back home are getting onboard too: the USA’s first match of the group stage drew more than 3 million viewers on FOX Sports 1, a group match record.
Many of those will undoubtedly be tuning in as the USA takes on Sweden Friday night at 8 p.m. ET on FOX and NBC Universo! Will you be watching?Read more
The #USWNT defeated Australia 3-1 in their opening match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Monday, with five players making their World Cup debut for the USA.
Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux and Christen Press all started the match with Johnston and Klingenberg going the full 90 minutes. Morgan Brian, the youngest player on the roster at age 22, replaced Megan Rapinoe in the second half.
Press, an alternate at the 2012 Olympics, became the eighth U.S. player to score a goal in her first World Cup match. “I was so excited to start the World Cup. We’ve been waiting for so long,” Press said. “Stepping out on the pitch, coming through the tunnel, there were so many emotions going through my body. It was awesome; it was an awesome experience!”
A victory against Sweden on Friday will secure the #USWNT a spot in the knockout round of the tournament.Read more
Up next for the USA is Sweden, which tied Nigeria 3-3 on Monday in Group D's other opening match. The match will kickoff on Friday at 8 p.m. ET at Winnipeg Stadium and can be seen on FOX and NBC Universo. Fans can also follow the #USWNT throughout the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup on Facebook, Twitter @ussoccer_wnt, @ussoccer_esp, Instagram @ussoccer_wnt, and Snapchat.Read more