Yet another accolade for the world's woman of the moment, US World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe

Rapinoe won Team Sportswomen at the Year (Women's Sport Foundation)
15:16pm, Fri 18 Oct 2019
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Megan Rapinoe has paid tribute to football legend Marta Vieira da Silva in her acceptance speech for Team Sportswoman of the Year.

US World Cup winning captain Rapinoe won the award at the Women's Sport Foundation's 40th annual salute, where Silva accepted the Wilma Rudolph Courage award.

Rapinoe said: "[Marta is] an absolute hero of our sport.

"To have even an ounce of courage that she has, to go on in this world and fight for things that are right and to stand up for what you believe in, I think we can all take a page out of her book.

"What she had to go through to even get to this point and to do it with such style and grace is amazing. 

"The inspiration that you have given all of us, to have the career that you have had and to do it in such incredible fashion is so encouraging. It’s something we should all strive to do. 

"To everyone who isn’t an athlete, you can still do your part to make women’s sports continue to grow and hopefully breaking boundaries as we continue every year." 

Brazilian football legend Silva is a UN women's goodwill ambassador and has spoken out about furthering women's sport. She is also the only footballer, male or female, to score goals in five World Cups.

She made an emotional speech at this year's World Cup after Brazil were knocked out. The 34-year-old said in her post-match interview: "It's about training more. It's about being ready to play for 90 plus 30 minutes. The women's game needs you [girls] in order to survive. So think about that, value it more."

As a child she was prevented from playing football with the boys and had to practise her skills by using a deflated ball and improvised balls made from wadded shopping bags.

Rapinoe said she felt "awkward" accepting awards at this late stage in her career.

She said: "I’m certainly not up here by myself. I have to shout out to the [US] team. It’s actually kind of uncomfortable. I’m so much older in my career and to be the first time receiving all these awards, I’m really not that comfortable as I seem. 

"It’s actually quite awkward. I feel that all of my success is due to the team and I am just one part of that. The team does an incredible job to set all of us up to do the very best that we can so thank you so much to my team and the coaching staff."

The midfielder also celebrated the foundation honouring her with the award, saying that without them her job would be "much more difficult".  

"To everyone in the room, thank you so much for recognising, getting behind and believing in women athletes and what we do. 

"So often we have to explain and over-explain, do everything on the field and off it just to get a little bit of recognition and it’s amazing to be in a room full of people who are already woke to what is going on!

"Without your guys’ support and the encouragement that all of you bring, it would make our lives so much more difficult so thank you."

The athlete is looking ahead to National Women's Soccer League semi-final this Sunday where her Reign FC side will be playing North Carolina Courage.