U.S. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe said it’s impossible to win a World Cup without gay players on the roster.
“You can’t win a championship without gays on your team — it’s never been done before, ever,” she told reporters. “That’s science, right there.”
The Guardian reports those comments came after Rapinoe faced questions about playing in the World Cup tournament during Pride Month.
“For me, to be gay and fabulous during Pride Month at the World Cup is nice,” she said.
The U.S. will face England in the semifinals Tuesday.
And while it may take some time to figure out the hard science behind having out players on the roster and winning soccer championships, Rapinoe is certainly right that no team will win this year without LGBTQ representation.
Of the four teams still in the running for the World Cup, all have out players, according to OutSports’ exhaustive list of LGBTQ tournament participants.
The USA boasts five out players — Tierna Davidson, Abrianna Franch, Ashlyn Harris, Ali Kriger and, of course, Rapinoe — as well as the tournament’s only out coach— Jillian Ellis.
England’s roster includes Rachel Daly, Beth Mead, and Jodie Taylor.
Sweden’s team includes Magdalena Eriksson, Nilla Fischer, Hedvig Lindahl, Caroline Seger, and trainer Pia Sundhage.
The Netherlands represents with Anouk Decker, Vivianne Miedema, Sherida Spitse, Merel van Dongen, and Daniëlle van de Donk.
Rapinoe, of course, has also been in the news for a running argument with President Trump. Rapinoe said she will not visit the White House in protest of Trump. The president via Twitter has already invited the team whether they win the tournament or not.
And QueerBio notes the sport has been more inclusive of lesbian players than most professional leagues and has an enormous number of lesbian players who since have graduated to the ranks of management and coaching within the sport.
"This culture has been present since the organizational beginning of the sport," the site notes.