Megan Rapinoe condemned the fact the USA have become accustomed to ‘shouldering so much’ on top of football as they prepare to face England four days after the release of Sally Yates’ report into abuse in US women’s soccer.
Yates’ report found verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct to be ‘systematic’ across US women’s soccer and spanned across ‘multiple teams, coaches, and victims’.
Over 200 players were spoken to as part of the report, and allegation into coaches Paul Riley, Rory Dames and Christy Holly were investigated.
“It’s really sad to say, but in a way, I think we’re used to having to deal with one thing or another,” Rapinoe said. “It seems to bring us closer and definitely unify the team. It’s just one of those sort of intimate environments that we’re in that we’re used to taking on a lot and playing in these kinds of conditions.
“Unfortunately we have a lot of practice. Rory’s [Dames] been an arsehole for the entire time I’ve known him, from the first second I heard him on the sideline the first season I ever played. Paul’s [Riley] the same. I didn’t know Christy Holly personally but everything I heard about him was horrible.
“I feel like we sort of know it, unfortunately we have a bit of practice and I think we’re used to historically being spoken to in a negative way or condescending and that’s just something that we’ve had to overcome.
“Like I said as sick as this sounds, I feel like we’re used to having to take on so much more than game-plan and tactics. I feel like we have an incredible ability to shoulder so much.”
The report found that clubs, the NWSL and US Soccer failed to put basic safeguarding measures in place to protect players from abusive coaches, and described abuse as ‘rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer’.
“Even when you know it, it’s just horrifying over and over to read,” Rapinoe added. “It’s been difficult for the players. Some of those players play in those clubs, have been coached by those coaches, likely have been abused in one form or another by some of the coaches or in some of those environments or different environments, youth environments, whatever it may be.
“It can definitely be re-triggering or re-traumatising just to have to deal with that on such an incredible occasion to be here at Wembley and be able to participate in this game, which is so exciting. The juxtaposition is just ridiculous.”