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Megan Rapineo to become first soccer player ever to receive Medal of Freedom

The World Cup winner has been a vocal and supportive ally of marginalized communities throughout her professional career, and now it is being recognized with the highest civilian honor in the U.S.
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Megan Rapineo is receiving the highest individual honor in the United States, and perhaps in the whole world. 

It all started last month in June, when the World Cup winning star, Rapinoe, was having lunch with teammates at the Denver Broncos Training Center. Rapinoe received a call at that moment on June 23, which was also the 50th anniversary of Title IX in the United States. 

That call displayed a flashing screen that said, "The White House" 

And she picked up after four rings, as she kept wondering if this was a prank by one of her teammates, or if it was the real deal. 

According to the OL Reign player, the phone call began a little something like this: 

“Is this Megan Rapinoe" 

“Uh, yeah,” Rapinoe replied.

“Please hold for the President of the United States,” said the White House Operator.

Just after a few moments, President Joe Biden hopped on the phone line, right away teasing Megan for receiving a red card in her last club match against Angel City on June 19th. But then, of course, Megan received the news of a lifetime. The news that only a handful of individuals in this world have experienced in the history of The White House. 

Biden selected Rapineo to become a recipient of the highest civilian honor in the U.S., the Medal of Freedom. 

The medal is given to individuals as an historic recognition for his or her contributions to society through "prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors." 

“In that moment I spoke to the President, I was, and still am, totally overwhelmed,” said Rapinoe. “I just think of all the people who I feel deserve a part of this medal, from my family to current and former teammates, all the women of the U.S. Women’s National Team throughout our history, to Colin Kaepernick, the three woman who founded Black Lives Matter – Opal, Alicia and Patrisse – to Marsha P, Sylvia and Billie Jean, the Williams sisters, of course my fiancé Sue Bird, and so many more," she added. 

The World Cup winner has been vocal and supportive of marginalized communities throughout her professional career, including the LGBTQ community she is also part of, and also supportive of ethnic minority groups in the U.S. 

But she's not stopping there. Rapinoe quoted Emma Lazarus to remind the world that there is still progress to be made. 

"I am humbled and truly honored to be chosen for this award by President Biden and feel as inspired and motivated as ever to continue this long history of fighting for the freedoms of all people. To quote Emma Lazarus, ‘Until we are all free, we are none of us free,'" she added.