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4 Lessons Megan Rapinoe’s Memoir Teaches Us about Making a Difference

The soccer star’s courageous spirit will inspire you. Her memoir, One Life, is the June selection for Tonal’s official book club, Read Between the Reps.

One Life by Megan Rapinoe book cover on a Tonal shelf with accessories.

Megan Rapinoe is best known for her success as a soccer player— she’s an Olympic gold medalist and winner of two World Cup titles — but she’s more than just a star on the field. In her memoir, One Life, our June pick for Tonal’s book club, Read Between the Reps, Rapinoe opens up about the challenges she’s faced and what motivates her to keep going. 

Rapinoe shares personal stories about her brother’s struggle with addiction, her decision to publicly come out as a lesbian, and the controversy that erupted after she kneeled during the national anthem at a soccer game in support of Colin Kaepernick and racial justice. She recounts key moments in her career, from scoring game-winning goals to suing the US Soccer Federation over gender discrimination and equal pay.

Revealing and inspiring, One Life isn’t only the personal story of one bold woman’s courageous life—it’s also a call-to-action, guiding you to use your voice to make a difference. 

4 Essential Lessons You’ll Learn from One Life

1. Stay true to your values: Throughout her career, Rapinoe has used her platform to fight for important causes. In the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics, when she and her team were in the public eye, Rapinoe opened up to the world about her sexuality. Her friends and family already knew she was gay, but she wanted to go public to help others feel more comfortable about coming out. “The more people who come out,” she writes, “the more we break down the stereotypes of what it is to be gay.” 

After winning the 2015 World Cup, she and her teammates sued the US Soccer Federation for paying women players less than their male counterparts. Rapinoe knew she’d face pushback for the lawsuit, but didn’t let it stop her. “You can’t go into a campaign worrying about whether people will like you,” she writes. Thanks to their tenacity, equal pay is now a reality.

2. Use your power to be an ally: Along with campaigning for equal treatment of women and the LGBTQ+ community, Rapinoe uses her influence to combat racism and other forms of injustice that don’t impact her directly. In 2016, she faced swift backlash after kneeling during the national anthem, but she stuck with her gesture of solidarity. “Kneeling, to me, felt more like an imperative than a choice,” she writes.

She traces her allyship back to her childhood when she’d stick up for other kids who were being bullied, and she believes we can all do a better job supporting each other.  “Once you have a tiny bit of power, space, or control, you should do everything you can to share it,” Rapinoe writes. “I don’t think you need a big platform to do this. It can be as simple as pushing back against a bigoted remark when you don’t belong to the group being targeted.” 

3. Never stop learning: Rapinoe set out to learn as much as she could about social justice movements to be a more effective ally and activist. She describes reading books and historic court cases covering topics like marriage equality and racism even while she was busy traveling for soccer. Her research also informed her on the interconnectedness of these issues. “There was no point campaigning for one cause without laying it on the line for another,” she writes.

4. Don’t make winning your only focus: Rapinoe loves winning, but she doesn’t let losing take away from her self-worth or distract her from what matters most in life. “I find the narrowness of most professional athletes—their tendency to behave as if nothing outside winning matters—not only limiting, but wrong,” she writes. When her team has lost games on some of the world’s biggest stages, Rapinoe focused on the positives, like her loving family and her activism work. 

About the Book

In One Life, Megan Rapinoe traces her journey from learning to play soccer with her twin sister in their small California town to joining the US Women’s National Team and winning the sport’s greatest honors. Alongside the story of her soccer career, Rapinoe shares her awakening as an activist, fighting for gender and racial equality. 

About the Author

Professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion and an Olympic Gold Medalist. She currently plays as a winger and co-captain for the Seattle Reign. An activist for LGBTQ+, gender, and racial equality, Rapinoe has fought against discrimination in the world of soccer and beyond. 

How to Join Read Between the Reps

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