Megan Rapinoe (left): “Just to have to deal with that on such an incredible occasion, to be here at Wembley and be able to participate in this game, which is so exciting — the juxtaposition is ridiculous.” (Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

The craziness of the situation wasn’t lost on Megan Rapinoe.

She and her U.S. women’s national team teammates should have been focusing on arguably the biggest women’s international soccer friendly in years.

Instead, the team has had to deal with the fallout of the Sally Q. Yates report that detailed serious coaching transgressions – verbal and sexual abuse and sexual misconduct – and owner neglect in the National Women’s Soccer League and even in youth soccer.

“Just to have to deal with that on such an incredible occasion, to be here at Wembley and be able to participate in this game, which is so exciting — the juxtaposition is ridiculous,” Rapinoe said during Thursday’s pre-match press conference at Wembley Stadium.

The USA, the two-time defending Women’s World Cup champions, takes on England, the recently crowned UEFA champs, in London on Friday at 3 p.m. ET (FOX).

Rapinoe, the Golden Ball and Golden Boot winner at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, did not hold back many, if any punches during the press conference.

Let’s face it. The USWNT has had to endure much over the years.

That included fighting for years for equal pay and treatment from U.S. Soccer.

“We always wish that we never had to do this,” Rapinoe said. “We never wish we had to file a lawsuit or do any of the things that we’ve had to do, that we’ve spoken about, but that’s just not the reality.

“It’s something that I’ve seen as always taking pride in and taking on and ensuring that we bring the game to a better place, and I think the game is already in a better place after this report.”

The 319-page report, which was released on Tuesday, zeroed in on alleged misconduct of several former NWSL coaches, the league’s leadership and U.S. Soccer. Those ex-coaches included Paul Riley (Portland Thorns), Rory Dames (Chicago Red Stars) and Christy Holly (Racing Louisville).

“Rory’s been an a–hole for the entire time that I’ve known him, from the first second that I heard him on the sideline, since the first season that I ever played,” Rapinoe said. “Paul is the same. I don’t know Christy Holly personally but everything I heard about him was horrible.”

Rapinoe said Portland Thorns owner Merritt Paulson and Chicago Red Stars owner Arnim Whisler were not fit to be in their positions.

Both owners have been under fire after the Yates Report was unveiled earlier this week. Rapinoe called the report “devastating.”

“Those people are in positions that have responsibilities, and they didn’t fulfill those responsibilities,” Rapinoe said. “They didn’t protect the players at all. I feel like it’s impossible to overstate that every single year, someone said something about multiple coaches in the league and about multiple different environments. So if year after year after year, you cannot perform your duties — I know I wouldn’t be in my position if I couldn’t perform my duties year after year.”

Rapinoe was far from finished.

“Without accountability and without people specifically who did the wrong thing being gone, that just says to us that nobody’s really hearing us,” she said. “So obviously, the firings in Portland. We’ll see what happens with the management, but I don’t think that Merritt Paulson is fit to be the owner of that team. I don’t think Arnim is fit to be the owner of Chicago. And we need to see those people gone.”