Megan Rapinoe says that when she represents the USWNT she is thinking about her teammates' ongoing battle for equal pay, not the US Soccer Federation.
The USWNT have been fighting to be paid the same as their male counterparts for decades, with the famous 99ers side first going on strike over the pay gap months after winning the 1999 World Cup.
In December 2020, the USWNT and the US Soccer Federation reached an out of court settlement over unequal working conditions, but are continuing to appeal an earlier decision regarding wage discrimination under the Equal Pay Act.
Rapinoe has been at the forefront of this USWNT generation's fight for equality, and opened up on the conflict experienced when representing her country while simultaneously fighting the federation.
"I would much rather be spending my time doing absolutely anything else other than fighting the federation all the time for something I feel like I deserve, but that is part of it," Rapinoe told ESPN. "For me, when I pull on the shirt, I'm not thinking about the federation.
"I see them [U.S. Soccer executives] pulling up to the game and I think: That's cute, that's nice. I feel like I pull on this shirt for equal pay and for the fans and for kids who want to be in my position. So that never feels in conflict."
The USWNT launched their equal pay suit in March 2019, and have since gone on to defend the Women's World Cup - with chants of 'equal pay' ringing around the stadium - before becoming the first side to defend the SheBelieves Cup in 2021.
"It's ironic all the time. We play in full stadiums most of the time. We win most of the games," Rapinoe added. "Sponsorships for all of us individually are up. We won the World Cup. We entertain. We do everything we are asked to do so it is frustrating."