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Mia Fishel picked Megan Rapinoe’s brain ahead of USWNT debut

(Jane Gershovich/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Mia Fishel made her U.S. women’s national team debut Sunday, and she got some pointers from a legend in the process.

The 22-year-old forward came on in the 65th minute for Alex Morgan. Her first USWNT match came in Megan Rapinoe’s last, and she got to watch as the retiring legend got her farewell from the crowd at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

“It was a dream,” Fishel said after the 2-0 win against South Africa. “I mean, as a little kid, you always dream of this moment watching people like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan. It was just really cool for [Rapinoe’s] last time and my first time being out there with her.”

Interim head coach Twila Kilgore saw a nice symmetry in the moment.

“Having Mia and Pinoe in the circle at the end and making sure to celebrate Mia’s first cap, but also at the same time Megan’s last game, has all sorts of emotions for everybody,” she said. “And I think it’s really special for both Megan to be sent off that day, but also for Mia to be next to her in the same moment, one career finishing and another starting.

“I thought Mia was really good. And just speaking with her after the game, I think she also gets the magnitude of the moment of getting her first cap on Megan’s last game. So I look forward to seeing how she uses that as fuel.”

The call-up to the USWNT, Fishel’s second ever and her first since October 2020, has been good for the young forward in other ways, too. One of them? She got to pick Rapinoe’s brain during training.

“I tried to ask her as many questions as possible, because this is the last time,” Fishel said. “She’s so friendly. She’s just a great person. And she truly has changed women’s soccer in the world. And I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

As part of the training camp, Fishel got to see the expectations that come with wearing the USWNT crest, and she handled it well, Kilgore said. In their postgame hug, Kilgore also told Fishel that she had “earned this” and that she wouldn’t have put her in if she didn’t believe in her.

“She just told me it was a big day,” she said. “And she hopes that she can follow in the same footsteps as Megan, but in her own way.”

On the club level, Fishel is preparing for her Women’s Super League debut with England’s Chelsea. The WSL season kicks off Sunday.