Juan Mata believes that Megan Rapinoe is an inspiration for other professional footballers, and human beings as a whole, for her outspokenness on social issues and desire to “make society a bit more fair.”
Mata is no stranger to actively engaging in conversations about, and efforts to solve, societal issues. Both Mata and Rapinoe have pledged to donated one percent of their salaries to Common Goal, a collective fund that aids soccer-related projects around the world.
The fact that Rapinoe, who won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player in guiding the U.S. women’s national team to the 2019 World Cup title, is a superstar of the highest level only amplifies her voice when she speaks. Mata sees that as a good thing, despite the backlash Rapinoe faced this summer — quotes from ESPN:
“She was scoring every game also and they won the World Cup so you can do it, you know.
“If you have time to do all the things and you’re generally passionate about football, and about society and about how to use the power of football to try to make society a bit more fair, then you can do it. That’s what we’re seeing.”
“I think you have heard many football players, both male and female speaking about social topics. I think many players are standing up for what they believe and I think it’s something nice. I think it’s good when football players do that.”
Whether it’s something as widespread as social injustices, as in Rapinoe’s case, or something as personal as mental health, players like Mata and Rapinoe are willing to lend their voices — and dollars — for the greater good, and that’s a wonderful thing.