September 26 – Megan Rapinoe, the iconic 38-year-old US striker celebrated as much for her off-the-pitch activism as her success on it, has finally played her last game for her country.
The Olympic champion and two-time World Cup winner ended her epic international career when subbed in the 54th-minute of a 2-0 win over South Africa at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Sunday.
Rapinoe, who scored 63 goals in 203 appearances over more than 17 years, received a standing ovation from the crowd as she exited the pitch.
“It has been such an honour to be able to wear this shirt, play with all these players and live out my childhood dream,” Rapinoe said at the end of the game.
“Just so grateful to play this long with so many amazing players and be able to be as successful as we’ve been on and off the field. I feel like when you come into something you want to leave it better than where you found it and I think I’ve done that.”
Rapinoe’s multitude of causes including LGBT+ rights, speaking out against racism and standing up for equal pay in women’s soccer made her a global household name. She was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s top civilian award, in 2022 by President Joe Biden.
‘Trailblazer. Icon. Inspiration’, the US women’s team posted on social media after Rapinoe’s exit.
“She has affected so many people’s lives in a positive way. She has changed this sport forever,” US forward Trinity Rodman said. “I’m so grateful I’m able to play on the same field with her as well as learn from her so she’s a legend.”
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