Alyssa Naeher delivers heartfelt message to retiring Megan Rapinoe

Alyssa Naeher delivers heartfelt message to retiring Megan Rapinoe originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Megan Rapinoe will play her final game with the USWNT on Sunday against South Africa in Chicago at Soldier Field.

It’s no secret the impact Rapinoe has had both on and off the pitch. The same could be said with regards to her teammates.

A number of her teammates delivered a heartfelt message to the retiring Rapinoe, including Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

“Thank you Pinoe for being who you are and the teammate that you’ve been, the friend you’ve been. Everything that you’ve given to this team,” Naeher said. “You’ve been through everything. All the ups all the downs, you’ve been in you’ve been out. You’ve won gold medals.

“Watching the 2011 World Cup, I was getting ready to go actually play in a WPS game and it was the game against Brazil and the cross to Abby [Wambach], I mean I actually ran circles around my house at home just watching that play. It was an incredible moment for this team.”

For those who may not remember, the USWNT were down 2-1 to Brazil in the final moments of extra time. Carli Lloyd had the ball in midfield and laid it off to Rapinoe on the left. With the ball, Rapinoe took a quick look up and delivered a cross to Wambach who tied the game.

It was the latest goal in Women’s World Cup history, sending the game to penalties where the USWNT would advance to the semifinals.

Naeher was the starting goalkeeper for the USWNT in 2016 for the Summer Olympics, a position she has held since.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s the moment that stands out the most for Naeher with Rapinoe.

“The moment that I remember most with you on the field was the shootout against the Netherlands in the Olympics. After you come up to take the penalty, I go hand you the ball and I think I told you something like ‘end it, end it here,’ and you crushed it and we moved on to the semifinal.”