Megan Rapinoe, an iconic football star who has gone beyond her sport to become one of the most outspoken, accomplished and dynamic athletes of her generation, has waited until the end to say the season is over. I didn’t want to
She didn’t plan to play in a string of Women’s World Cups in Australia and New Zealand later this month, but rather to retire after her last major tournament in the United States and her last season as a professional player. team. In perfect Rapinoe fashion, she couldn’t keep quiet about what was important to her.
Unexpectedly, Rapinoe, 38, said it was time to say goodbye at a press conference on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s US-Wales game in San Jose, Calif.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone,” she said to a room full of reporters as the US team prepared to leave for New Zealand for the Women’s World Cup. “I could never have imagined where this beautiful game would take me.” She called football “the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.”
Rapinoe, who has been on the national team for 17 years and has spoken out in support of a variety of issues including LGBTQ rights, pay equity, the Black Lives Matter movement and voter rights for nearly the same year, will celebrate her fourth Women’s World Championships. It will be his final season with the Cup and national team. She was in the women’s soccer league, ending her career at the top of the sport.
She has competed in the Olympics three times and won the gold medal with her team at the 2012 London Games. She has appeared in her 199 games for her national team, and for the United States she has scored 63 of her goals, often showing big plays as a creative and ferocious forward when her team needs it most. Did.
Perhaps nothing exemplifies her ability to perform under pressure more than when she scored twice in the 2019 World Cup quarter-final against France. Her goal came just days after former President Donald J. Trump took to Twitter to criticize her for not going to Trump’s White House if his team won the tournament.
President Trump said, “Megan must win first before she can speak!” Please finish the job! “
But Rapinoe did not flinch. In the fifth minute of the game against France, she scored from a free-kick and ran to the corner of the field, spreading her arms wide to the applause of the fans. She scored again in the second half to win her team 2-1 and advance to the semi-finals. The American won the world title for the second year in a row.
Rapinoe’s impressive performance on the field in 2019 saw her win the Ballon d’Or as FIFA Women’s Player of the Year. Her six goals at that World Cup helped her win the Golden Boot for top scorer and the Golden Ball for top player.
Rapinoe’s longtime teammate Alex Morgan said: “She’s a great player who has made a huge contribution to this program and to football in general.” “I’m really happy that she’s out and about, hopefully.”
Rapinoe, who has suffered multiple injuries throughout his career, has been plagued by ankle injuries and missed two international friendly games against Ireland in April with a calf injury. But even if it’s less than 100%, her leadership will be key for the US team, whose 14 players are World Cup rookies.
“This is everything for her,” said defender Crystal Dunne, adding that Rapinoe has inspired her throughout her career.
“I think she’s someone you always want in your corner,” she said.
Now the team knows Rapinoe is in the knockout stages and all the players want it to make sense.
“Well,” said Morgan, “now we have to win it all.”
Claire Fahey Reporting from San Jose, California.