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The story behind Megan Rapinoe's birthday shoutout to her brother

The World Cup star wished her older brother a happy birthday as he watched from a rehabilitative center where he is finishing a prison sentence.
/ Source: TODAY

Megan Rapinoe was basking in the second straight World Cup title by the U.S. women's national team Sunday when she made sure to send a birthday shoutout to a special person.

The star of the tournament, Megan scored the opening goal in a 2-0 victory in the championship and earned the Golden Ball as the World Cup's best player, but she made sure not to forget someone else's special day.

"Just one thing: Happy birthday, Brian. I love you so much," she said before blowing a kiss to the camera.

Brian Rapinoe is the soccer star's older brother, a recovering addict who was unable to make the trip to France to watch the tournament because he is in a rehabilitative program in San Diego finishing a prison sentence, according to ESPN.

"Megs, breaks my heart that you couldn't fly me out for an all-expenses-paid trip to France,'' Brian had jokingly texted Megan before the first game of the tournament, ESPN reported.

"Oh yeah, so sad I couldn't pamper you for a month in France,'' she replied.

Brian, 38, has served 16 years in prison for various offenses. He told ESPN he began using drugs at 12 and eventually became addicted to heroin.

According to ESPN, he's now been clean for 18 months and hoping to turn his life around. The rehab program he's in allows an inmate to serve the final 12 months of a sentence taking classes or working a job outside of prison.

"My brother is special," Megan told ESPN. "He has so much to offer. It would be such a shame if he left this world with nothing but prison sentences behind him. To be able to have him out, and to play for him, and to have him healthy, with this different perspective that he has now: This is like the best thing ever."

The two texted each other daily during the tournament, where Megan won the Golden Boot as the World Cup's top scorer.

"I was her hero, but now, there's no question, she is mine,'' Brian said.