Casual women’s soccer fans might know her as Megan Rapinoe’s twin sister, but Portland Pilot fans know her as the player that saved the 2006 season from being one of agony, tears and pain. Now she’s joined Stjarnan. (FUN FACT: missing person Kerri Hanks tried out for the same squad before disappearing from the earth completely. Please don’t disappear, Rachael.) Former Sacramento State player Katie McCoy and University of the Pacific’s Laura King are also playing for Stjarnan.
We’re not typically a breaking news-type of blog, but as a Pilot fan, this is significant and intriguing. At one time, Rachael had made it clear that she had retired from soccer and interested in seeking a career in medicine. In her freshman and sophomore years at Portland, Rapinoe suffered from undiagnosed anemia, which left her fatigued and unable to fully compete at the college level. Once that problem was taken care of, she stormed into her junior year; moving from defender to forward and went on a torrential goal scoring streak through the 2006 season, immediately after Megan Rapinoe went down with her first ACL tear. Rachael and Michelle Enyeart carried the Pilots that year.
Megan would have another injury the next year, followed by Rachael. Same knee. Same injury. Same team. Same year.
It was a really hard year.
While she did not show the take-on speed and flashier style of her twin, Rachael demonstrated great skill on the ball and an ability to sneak by defenders, take and make well-placed shots. (Her amazing strike against the University of Texas, seen at 2:22 in the above video, was so unexpected that the hundreds of Pilots fans gathered at the Chiles Center that day missed it in the broadcast.) The few games they played together, you could see the special ability both Rapinoes had to pick one another out. Portland didn’t get to see much of it as Rachael, too, suffered back to back ACL tears (hers in 2007 and 2008), making a full college season of both Rapinoes on the field an impossibility. It was hard, as a Pilot fan, not to feel robbed by fate of such an exciting duo.
The Icelandic league is not something we’ve ever really covered at Cross Conference and we’re not exactly about to start. I won’t speculate on what the beginnings of a pro career might mean. But the potential return of a favorite college player is worth crowing about.