REUTERS: Women's World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe has said her inclusion in FIFA's "Women's World11" team of the year despite playing so little is a sign that the women's game needs more visibility and exposure.
Rapinoe, who was named best player at the 2019 World Cup and finished top scorer, said she appreciated being included in the team of the year but pointed out she had not played since March, when the coronavirus pandemic disrupted global sport.
The winger said on Twitter she appreciated being chosen by her fellow professionals but other players deserved more recognition this year.
"We have so many phenomenal female players around the world and all of us need to do what we can to recognise them," she said.
She added that her inclusion "sheds light on the fact that to push our game forward we need continued investment ... to give more female players the opportunity to be seen on TV in their home countries and globally while performing for club and country".
Rapinoe, who won FIFA's The Best award last year and gained extra attention for her criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump, chose not to play for her club OL Reign when the U.S. women's season resumed in June.
But she said she was excited to return to playing next year, when the United States will be playing in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
"The future of our game is so bright, the potential is limitless, and our commitment to pushing it forward from every possible angle has to match that," she added.
"Again, I am honoured and flattered to have been recognised by my peers for this honour, and look forward to getting back out on the field in 2021!"
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Frances Kerry)