Megan Rapinoe exited the NWSL Championship, her final match before retirement, Saturday after suffering a non-contact injury.
Rapinoe went down in the third minute of the match with what The Athletic said looked like an Achilles injury. She exited the field a few minutes later and watched as her OL Reign fell to Gotham FC 2-1.
Megan Rapinoe goes down with an injury less than three minutes into the NWSL Final in her last career game 💔
She receives a standing ovation from Snapdragon Stadium pic.twitter.com/uwqG2epzMK
— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) November 12, 2023
Rapinoe announced her retirement plans before the FIFA World Cup this summer. She spent her entire NWSL career with the Reign but never won a NWSL Championship.
While it wasn’t the Rapinoe swan song fans hoped for, Gotham’s Ali Krieger, Rapinoe’s former national team teammate, ended her soccer career as a first-time NWSL champion.
The two shared a hug before Rapinoe left the game.
Ali Krieger and Megan Rapinoe shared a moment after Rapinoe's injury pic.twitter.com/NrwTSZACTo
— espnW (@espnW) November 12, 2023
The Reign had a chance late in stoppage time when Gotham goalkeeper Mandy Haught was ejected after receiving a red card in the final minutes of stoppage time.
Because Gotham was out of substitutions, midfielder Nealy Martin had to step in goal while the Reign sought an equalizer off a free kick. The Reign were unable to find the back of the net.
When did Megan Rapinoe from the USWNT?
Rapinoe played her last game for the U.S. women’s national team on Sept. 24, capping off a 17-year career with the team, which included three Olympics and four World Cups. The forward served as the team’s captain and recorded an assist in her final game.
MEGAN RAPINOE SUBS OFF IN FINAL GAME 🇺🇸
The end of one of the most indelible USWNT careers in history. A player & person who never shied away from the spotlight. A natural winner who could change matches with the flip of a switch. BIG LOVE @mPinoe 💪pic.twitter.com/VC4mpUiKHj
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) September 24, 2023
What is Megan Rapinoe known for?
Rapinoe told reporters in her final national team press conference in September that she’s more proud “by a mile” of what her and the team have accomplished off the field than on the field. Rapinoe has been an advocate for the LGBTQ community, racial justice and women’s equity in sports.
She was one of the players involved in the national team’s fight for equal pay, which came to an end last year when the U.S. Soccer Federation and U.S. women’s national team came to an agreement.
“In the end it came together,” Rapinoe said on the “Today” show in 2022. “For us as players I’m just so proud of the way we stuck together and really just kind of put our foot down. This is a huge win for us.”
According to U.S. Soccer, in her career, Rapinoe has:
Won the FIFA World Cup twice.
Won the 2012 Olympics.
Won the 2019 Best FIFA Women’s Player award.
Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Scored 63 goals.
Assisted 73 goals.
Scored two Olimpicos, a goal scored directly from a corner kick, in two Olympics.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 5, 2021
What will Megan Rapinoe do next?
Rapinoe has been vague about any specific retirement plans but she has said she’s looking forward to spending more time with friends and family while she’s the national team’s “No. 1 supporter.”
“I obviously know that this is an ending of one chapter, but it feels very much like a beginning,” she told reporters the day before her final U.S. match. “I’m really excited about what’s to come. I love where the game is at and where the sport is at, and just I think women’s sports in general — the whole landscape around it — is in such an exciting place and I hope to continue to be a part of that in a really big way, just on the other side of things.”
She did hint that she’ll continue to have a role in women’s sports, but she doesn’t “want to be tied to one thing or one organization.”
In 2022, she launched a production company, A Touch More, with her fiancee Sue Bird “that puts the spotlight on narratives of identity, activism, and underrepresented communities, including LGBTQIA+, BIPOC and women,” Front Office Sports reported.
What are people saying about Megan Rapinoe’s retirement?
Rapinoe’s impact on women’s soccer has been felt globally. England head coach Sarina Wiegman, who was the coach of the Netherlands team the U.S. beat in the 2019 World Cup final, praised the forward before her final U.S. match.
“I think she is one of the most important players. I think the U.S. were the trailblazers in women’s football, and also for the position of women in society. We should be all very thankful for what she leaves behind. I have so much respect for her,” Wiegman said, according to The Guardian.
Current national team teammates Alex Morgan and Trinity Rodman paid tribute to Rapinoe on social media before her final national team match.
14 years of hugs and cellys and trophies and tears together. All the feels for Pinoe’s last UWSNT game pic.twitter.com/8ueNUvvBZL
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) September 24, 2023
Nothing but high praises for Megan Rapinoe 💙 pic.twitter.com/ZPt4F4tKhE
— espnW (@espnW) September 24, 2023
Former U.S. men’s national team player and Fox Sports World Cup analyst Alexi Lalas also thanked Rapinoe for her career.
Megan Rapinoe plays her last #USWNT game. A legendary figure, on and off the field. It'll be interesting to see what's next for her. While we surely disagree on many things, I respect her fearlessness, conviction, and personality. Thank you @mPinoe and good luck. 🇺🇸⚽️ pic.twitter.com/h3STr16RzX
— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) September 24, 2023