Women’s World Cup final teams have the highest number of out players

Across the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the two teams competing against one another in the final later today (7 July) have the highest number of out players.

The U.S. and the Netherlands teams each feature five lesbian and bisexual athletes, while the former also has an out coach: Jill Ellis.

American defenders Tierna Davidson and Ali Krieger, goalkeepers Adrianna Franch and Ashlyn Harris, and co-captain Megan Rapinoe all identify as non-straight. Harris and Krieger have reportedly been in a relationship with one another for several years and announced their engagement in March 2019.

Megan Rapinoe: “You can’t win a championship without gays.”

According to The Guardian and several other UK outlets, Rapinoe joked that “you can’t win a championship without gays on your team” after the U.S team bagged a place in the semifinal after beating host France.

Megan Rapinoe celebrates goal against France in Women's World Cup

United States’ forward Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring her team’s first goal during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup quarter-final football match between France and United States. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty)

“It’s never been done before, ever,” she continued. “That’s science, right there.” Judging by the last two teams standing, she’s not wrong.

When asked by the same publication whether having so much success on the pitch during Pride month felt extra special to her, Rapinoe – who scored two goals against France during the match – replied: “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.”

Sherida Spitse is one of the players on the Netherlands team who identifies as non-straight (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Dutch midfielders Sherida Spitse, Merel van Dongen, Daniëlle van de Donk and Anouk Dekker and forward Vivianne Miedema all identify as lesbian or bisexual.

Across the 24 teams that have taken part in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, 38 players, one trainer and one coach are out.

There were no out players in the 2018 Men’s World Cup

“While the men’s professional game has been reluctant to be fully inclusive and supportive of anyone within the game who identifies as LGBT, it’s generally regarded that football is much more accepting of women who are lesbian or bisexual,” Lindsay England, founder of Just A Ball Game, a campaign organisation that works to stamp out homophobia in football, told Outsports last week.

Taking place in Lyon, France, the USWNT vs. Netherlands final will kick off at 4pm BST.