World Cup Mainstay Says She's Retiring

Megan Rapinoe first will try to win another title with US teammates
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2023 2:50 PM CDT
Megan Rapinoe Announces Retirement
Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Women's World Cup final soccer match against The Netherlands in Lyon, France, in 2019.   (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

Megan Rapinoe, a member of the US women's soccer team since 2006 who has helped the squad capture an Olympic gold medal and two World Cup championships, announced her retirement Saturday. "This is going to be my last season, my last World Cup and my last NWSL season," Rapinoe said at a news conference in San Jose, where the US team is to play Wales on Sunday, NBC News reports. The 38-year-old forward also plays for the NWSL's OL Reign. Rapinoe said she was "honored to be able to have represented this country and this federation for so many years," adding, "It's truly been the greatest thing that I've ever done, something I'm so grateful for."

On Monday, Rapinoe and the US team head to New Zealand to try to win a third consecutive World Cup title; play begins July 20. Her final regular-season league game would be Oct. 6 in Seattle. A career high point for her was 2019, when Rapinoe scored six goals in the World Cup and was named the sport's women's player of the year, per the New York Times. Vlatko Andonovski, the US team's head coach, described Rapinoe as "one of the most important players in women's soccer history and a personality like no other," per the BBC.

Rapinoe also made a mark by speaking out on issues, per the Times, including LGBTQ+ rights, often squaring off rhetorically with former President Donald Trump. She was a leader in the battle for equal pay for women's players and equal treatment in general. "I've been able to have such an incredible career, and this game has brought me all over the world and allowed me to meet so many amazing people," Rapinoe said in a statement. She said at the press conference she feels peace and excitement after making her decision, per USA Today. With her eyes teared up, Rapinoe said, "I could never have imagined where this beautiful game would take me." (More Megan Rapinoe stories.)

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