Megan Rapinoe shows her appreciation for Lindsey Horan as she is subbed off in her final USWNT appearance in a friendly against South Africa in Chicago in September 2023. | Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Women’s National Team is entering its first Pride Month since the retirement of gay legend Megan Rapinoe.

Yet Lindsey Horan, who will captain the side Saturday in the first of two friendly matches against South Korea, insists the USWNT’s commitment to LGBTQ solidarity and activism is in no way weakened without Rapinoe in the locker room.

In fact, in terms of visibility, the message of support will be stronger than ever this June.

When Horan leads the players out at DSG Park in Denver, the numbers on their jerseys will be in Progress Pride flag colors.

An image of the new jerseys for Pride Month 2024 was shared on the U.S. Soccer website.

The USWNT didn’t play a fixture during Pride Month in 2023, due to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand beginning in mid-July.

In June 2022, when they beat Colombia in a friendly in Utah, the Pride jersey numbers were in the standard six-stripe rainbow.

This month, as part of a long-running partnership with You Can Play, U.S. Soccer has announced both the women’s and the men’s team will wear the new-design jerseys in their forthcoming friendly matches.

The men are taking on Colombia in Washington D.C. and Brazil in Orlando in warm-up games before the Copa America tournament.

After these fixtures, some of the players’ Pride jerseys will be auctioned off to raise money for You Can Play.

For the USWNT players, it’s the first time they are taking to the field with new head coach Emma Hayes in the dugout, as they start preparations for the Paris Olympics in earnest.

Understandably, Hayes has been the center of attention this week but it was Rapinoe who got a specific mention from Horan in one pre-match interview Friday.

“The inclusivity of this team… and the things that we stand for are just massive and that’s what this team has always been like,” Horan told 9News Denver’s Arielle Orsuto.

“I think Pinoe has just been a frontrunner there with everything that she’s spoken for. Obviously, I speak so highly of her.”

The two attacking midfielders are firm friends and were part of the squad that won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France five years ago.

That was Rapinoe’s second career World Cup title and later that same year, she would pick up two major individual accolades — the Ballon d’Or Femenin and Best FIFA Women’s Player.

At the gala event in Milan for the latter award, she memorably used her acceptance speech to publicly call out the racism, homophobia and sexism that still blights the game.

Increasingly, her advocacy — not least for transgender inclusion in sports — has made her a lightning rod in culture-war conversations.

Having the black and brown stripes and trans flag colors of the Progress flag added to the U.S. Pride jerseys therefore carries great significance.

In April, Horan and her USWNT co-captain Alex Morgan also raised their voices, as they reassured LGBTQ fans that they would be “heard and seen” in the light of Korbin Albert’s controversial anti-gay and anti-trans social media posts.

Albert apologized for her activity and has retained her place in the current squad following the SheBelieves Cup.

That means the 20-year-old is also in line to wear the special shirts with Progress Pride numbers, should she be involved in one or both of the games against South Korea.

Horan went on to say in her comments Friday that the jerseys will show “what we’re representing,” sending out a message that goes beyond borders.

She added: “It’s so special and it’s so unique of this team to be able to do that.

“I think we’ve always shown the rest of the world who we are and what we stand for, and I think a lot of people have followed it too.”