Trail-blazer Rapinoe completes honours sweep at Ballon d’Or

“We have to be better,” Rapinoe told a cheering crowd of thousands. “We have to love more, hate less. We got to listen more and talk less.

“It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place,” she added.

Rapinoe returned to that theme at a recent awards ceremony, when she was honoured as one of Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year”.

She used the event to draw attention to the plight of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who ignited controversy in 2016 after kneeling during the US national anthem in a protest against racial injustice.

Rapinoe was one of the first athletes to kneel in solidarity with Kaepernick, who has effectively been frozen out of the league since his season of protest.

Rapinoe said Kaepernick’s plight made her determined to continue her fight for social justice and equality.

“It would be a slap in the face to Colin, and to so many other faces, not to acknowledge, and for me personally, to work relentlessly to dismantle that system that benefits some over the detriment of others, and frankly is quite literally tearing us apart in this country,” she said.

Back in the sporting arena, Rapinoe has eased her way back into the fray.

Exhaustion and a sore achilles left her sidelined until September, when she returned to play for Seattle’s Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Meanwhile, she returned to the US team for two October friendlies against South Korea, and is expected to be a key member of the US squad for next year’s Olympics, where she will be chasing a second gold medal.

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