Megan Rapinoe declared it was time for the conversation about pay in women’s football to move “forward to the next step” after she helped the United States retain their World Cup title.
The holders’ 2-0 victory over Holland in the final in Lyon saw Rapinoe score the opener with a coolly converted 61st-minute penalty before Rose Lavelle added a fine strike eight minutes later.
On the eve of the match Rapinoe had spoken at a pre-match press conference about the gap in prize money between the men’s and women’s World Cups.
On Sunday the 34-year-old was asked what she thought about chants of ‘equal pay’ and boos for FIFA president Gianni Infantino from the crowd after the game.
And Rapinoe – who ended up with the tournament’s Golden Boot for top scorer and Golden Ball award for best player – said: “I think everyone is ready for this conversation to move to the next step.
“I think we’re done with the ‘are we worth this, should we have equal pay, are the markets the same?’ Everyone is done with that. Fans are done with that. Players are done with that. In a lot of ways I think sponsors and everyone is done with that.
“Let’s get to the next point of what’s next, how do we support women’s federations and women’s programmes around the world, what can FIFA do to do that, what can we do to support the leagues around the world.
“We put on, every player at this World Cup, the most incredible show that you could ever ask for and we can’t do anything more to impress more, to be better ambassadors, to take on more, to play better, to do anything.
“It’s time to move that conversation forward to the next step.”
She added: “And a little public shame never hurt anyone right? So I’m down with the boos.”
Rapinoe’s goal was her sixth of a tournament in which she was accused of disrespect by US President Donald Trump for having said “I’m not going to the f***ing White House” when asked ahead of the World Cup if she would visit were her team to claim the trophy.
US boss Jill Ellis hailed Rapinoe after the final, saying: “I think Megan was built for this, built for these moments, built to be a spokesperson for others.
“She speaks well, from her heart. I think we need people like that in the game, to be honest, to call things for what they are.
“I think almost the bigger the spotlight the more she shines. Sometimes spotlights can burn people but I think for Megan it just highlights who she is.”
Ellis also said with a smile “I wouldn’t bet on that” when asked about the possibility of being invited to the White House.
Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)July 7, 2019
President Trump tweeted after the match: “Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!”