Megan Rapinoe insisted women’s sides cannot succeed “without gays on your team” after her match-winning performance for USA against France on Friday night.
The US winger scored both goals as her team beat the hosts 2-1 in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals to set up a last-four clash with England.
Rapinoe, who came out in 2012, has been outspoken in her criticism of US president Donald Trump, with footage emerging during the World Cup of her saying she would not accept an invite to the White House if the US won the tournament.
The 33-year-old also urged her team-mates to “think hard” about whether they would do the same. In return, Trump accused Rapinoe of “disrespect” and told her to focus on winning the trophy.
Rapinoe has not backed down following Trump’s criticism though, saying after the victory over France: “Go gays!
“You can’t win a championship without gays on your team – it’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there.
“I’m motivated by people who like me, who are fighting for the same things. I take more energy from that than from trying to prove anyone wrong. That’s draining on yourself.
“But for me, to be gay and fabulous, during Pride Month at the World Cup, is nice.”
While Rapinoe was the star of the show in Paris on Friday, she admitted the US were not at their best despite seeing off France.
She said: “We didn’t have the best night on the ball but defensively, the willingness and the discipline to do what we did was impressive.
“We were ruthless in our chances. Moving on to the next round, that’s really all that matters.”