Megan Rapinoe was publicly supported by USWNT teammates before Korbin Albert (right) apologized | Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports / Ringo Chiu - Shutterstock

U.S. women’s national team players past and present have publicly shown solidarity on social media with trans youth after current international Korbin Albert’s trash-talking was brought to light.

In a daggers-drawn dispute that played out on Instagram stories, USWNT legend Megan Rapinoe took aim at Albert but chose not to name her following the 20-year-old’s widely documented anti-LGBTQ activity on TikTok.

Rapinoe called out “hate” and its damaging effect on young people before re-emphasizing to the trans community that she stands with them.

A call to “Wake TF up!” was followed by a “Yours Truly, #15” sign-off, a reference to the shirt number worn by the former FIFA World Player of the Year and since inherited by Albert.

Megan Rapinoe’s post on her Instagram story

Becky Sauerbrunn shared Rapinoe’s Insta story, adding the comment “well said”, while Ali Krieger, Alana Cook, Merritt Mathias, Sam and Kristie Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper, Meghan Klingenberg and Lynn Williams were among the USWNT players to either re-post or interact with the message, rallying around Rapinoe.

The Athletic later reported how the two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner had confirmed to them that the story post was indeed a response to Albert’s activity, which included the sharing of a TikTok video that showed a sermon in which being gay and “feeling transgender” was wrong.

Sleuthing by fans also unearthed what appeared to be a ‘like’ from an Albert account on a post that mocked Rapinoe over the ACL injury that forced her out of the NWSL Championship game in November.

Albert’s apology arrived shortly after she had scored for her club Paris Saint-Germain in a UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final win on Thursday night.

“Liking and sharing posts that are offensive, insensitive and hurtful was immature and disrespectful which was never my intent,” she said in a statement, with Instagram stories again the chosen delivery method.

She went on to say she was “deeply sorry for the hurt that I have caused,” ending with the pledge: “I promise to do better.”

Korbin Albert’s apology was posted to her Instagram story

However, there was zero mention in that message of LGBTQ people — the very community that Albert’s activity had targeted, as noted by commentators such as British woso podcaster and producer Becky Taylor-Gill.

The rumpus has rumbled on, with former US men’s team defender turned Fox Sports commentator and pundit Alexi Lalas chipping in with support for Albert on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Having retweeted a post from Fox-owned and self-professed “antidote to mainstream sports media” OutKick that took a swipe at Rapinoe, Lalas wrote that Albert had a “bright future” and implied those USWNT players critical of her would fail a “purity test.”

Albert has won seven USWNT caps to date and is in the squad for the SheBelieves Cup tournament which begins next Saturday, Apr. 6, in Atlanta.

Also in that squad are Dahlkemper, out gay defender Tierna Davidson, and goalkeeper Jane Campbell, who married her wife Christine Nairn — a former USWNT international — in December.

What will the atmosphere be like at training camp? Will there be any signs of discord when the team takes to the field? And will ‘free speech’ hawks wrapping themselves in the stars-and-stripes continue to stir the pot? Former pro soccer player Nicole Baxter had a sweet riposte to one Lalas tweet.

It’s all popcorn for a lot of fans and for the media. Yet for LGBTQ people who love the USWNT, its players from the community and the many allies who have worn the shirt, this has been an empowering episode too.

Even in the early days of her retirement, Rapinoe has shown she will fight on alongside “my trans homies enduring this horrific treatment day in and day out,” on the frontline of an ever-escalating culture war. “I see you and hear you and I am WITH YOU,” she wrote.

The humbling of Korbin Albert proves the USWNT’s reputation for LGBTQ advocacy is not some lost legacy that suddenly passed into the history books when Rapinoe hung up her cleats.

The sisterhood assembled, and Albert had better “Wake TF Up” and fast if she wants to be taken to the hearts of her teammates and supporters of the national side.