U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe possesses some unique attacking talents, whether she’s coming down the flank or up the middle. These talents and her growth as a player over the last year could make her a FIFA Women’s World Cup debutante come 2011 in Germany. As the U.S. team comes together for its first training camp since the end of the inaugural WPS campaign, Rapinoe sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss her thoughts on the season, her evolution as a guitar player and how she could be a Food Network star.
1. In the past year, you went from your college season, straight to the national team, straight to the WPS season and now back with the national team. How is the pro soccer life treating you?
Megan Rapinoe: “Very good. I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to do what I love, and now I get to do it all year round with the WPS. It kind of makes coming in with the national team even more special because you realize how many players there are in the U.S. It just makes it that much more of an honor.”
2. It has been well-documented that you’ve recovered from major injuries. How is the body feeling these days?
MR: “The body feels good. I am very fortunate to be completely healthy and have been for a while now. I felt good all throughout the WPS season. It was sort of a big final test, to go through a season, and not just a college season, and stay healthy. So the ‘ole horse is holding up.”
3. You’ve been playing flank midfielder almost exclusively for the national team, and played mostly on the left wing with the Red Stars, although you are predominately right-footed. Do you prefer coming down the left or the right?
MR: “It doesn’t really matter. Depending on which side I’m on, what I’m doing changes a bit. Coming down the right, I’m more dangerous continuing to the end line and crossing. Coming down the left, I cut into the middle a little more. But I like both. Being able to use both feet gives you the option to go inside or outside and play anywhere. I really feel comfortable on both sides.”
4. Although we know you didn’t see any of the games, what do you think of Germany’s dominating effort at the UEFA Women’s Championships?
MR: “It didn’t come as a surprise. None of the Germans came to play in the WPS and none of them play abroad so I felt they would be very united, organized and ready. I thought Sweden would do better. From what I’ve seen, I would have picked those two teams to make the final, but in big tournaments like that, you just can’t stumble or find your rhythm halfway through the tournament. You have to have it at the start and stay consistent and it seems like the Germans did.”
5. Aside from Pia Sundhage, you are the team’s most talented guitar player. Learn any new songs lately?
MR: “I haven’t been playing a ton, but I am working on a Joshua Radin song right now called ‘No Envy, No Fear.’ It’s kind of a slow, acoustic, chilled-out song. I’m not sure I’m ready to play it for an audience. We’ll see how much practice I can get in this camp.”
6. Which is a better way to score a goal? Full-out diving header or 30-yard rocket shot?
MR: “For me, a 30-yard bomb for sure. You have just enough time to watch it sail into the net. Usually, you are on the run so you can just see it on its path. And when you hit one of those, you know you’ve beaten the ‘keeper. On a diving header, usually you are close enough that the ‘keeper has no chance and someone has served you a great ball. I guess that’s why I shoot a lot from distance and I don’t have that many header goals … or maybe none.”
7. We see that your Portland Pilots are off to a good start this college season. Any words of wisdom for your former teammates in purple as they head into WCC play?
MR: “Just stay focused. It’s easy sometimes, especially if you are one of the teams on top, to think that you can dominate the conference, but you have to keep focused and never take any game lightly. And lastly, remember to have fun and smile.”
8. Your Chicago Red Stars struggled at times during the inaugural WPS season. What were some lessons learned?
MR: “It’s important to bring it everyday, especially in a league with this kind of parity. Every game is going to be a battle. You see how the championship ended up. Any team could win any weekend, and I think the main thing is being consistent. The teams that were the most consistent throughout the whole season ended up doing the best, even if they weren’t winning every game.”
9. You have a twin sister, Rachael, who also played at Portland. If you could take one aspect of her personality into yours what would it be?
MR: “She’s a great judge of character. Not that I’m not, she’s just better. She just has stronger intuition or something.”
10. Are you focusing on improving any specific part of your game this fall?
MR: “You are always getting more comfortable technically the more you play, but I think more so for me is the tactical part of the game. I need to find ways to be involved in the attack as much as I can. Whether that’s with the ball at my feet running at players, or getting into positions where I can be dangerous if I get the ball or setting up my teammates.”
11. If you were a celebrity chef, what would be the name of your TV show?
MR: “It would probably be “Rachael Cooks for Megan” because my sister is a much better cook, and I would be there just to eat and stir and comment on how good the food tastes, because that’s actually what I do in real life anyway.”