No one has put the University of Portland on the map quite like Megan Rapinoe. A professional soccer player for OL Reign FC and the United States Women’s National Team, advocate for equal pay for female players, winner of the Ballon d’Or Féminin and The Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2019 and overall one of the most accomplished athletes in the world — Rapinoe is revered in Portland as few are.
Following Rapinoe’s last professional soccer game, The Beacon looks back at her career as a Portland Pilot.
Rapinoe came to the University as a freshman in 2005, a year in which the women’s soccer team went undefeated and were the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Champions. Rapinoe — playing as a midfielder — started in all 25 games for the Pilots that year scoring 15 goals (7 of which were game-winning) and providing 13 assists. Rapinoe also made the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship All Tournament Team and was the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year.
After an electrifying first year as a Pilot, Rapinoe sustained her first season-ending ACL injury as a sophomore in October of 2006 at a match against Washington State University. The injury was a tough ending to what looked to be another huge season for Rapinoe who managed to score 10 goals and two assists in just 11 matches before her injury.
Her second season ending ACL injury came just two games into the 2007 season.
Finally recovered, Rapinoe racked up five goals and 13 assists (ranking first in assists in the West Coast Conference that year) in the 2008 season, starting in all 22 games. That year, she was named the WCC Player of the Year.
Though Rapinoe was left with an extra year of athletic eligibility due to injury, she instead entered the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft where she was selected second overall by the Chicago Red Stars.
By the end of her time as a Pilot, Rapinoe had 30 goals and 28 assists to her name — a feat that still ranks 10th in program history despite her troubles with injury.
At a recent press conference after her final professional game —played at Providence Park Stadium against Portland Thorns FC — Rapinoe reminded the world where she got her start.
“I’ve been trying to impress people in Portland since I was eighteen,” Rapinoe said. “To be able to play college here and to have so many amazing memories… It’s always really special playing here.”
Maggie Dapp is the sports editor at The Beacon. She can be contacted at email@example.com.