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Megan Rapinoe: On-field legacy ‘pales in comparison’ to off-field achievements

Megan Rapinoe played in her fourth World Cup in 2023. (Robin Alam/USSF/Getty Images)

Megan Rapinoe is playing in her final match for the U.S. women’s national team at 5:30 p.m. ET Sunday. And while she will leave the field with World Cup-winning résumé, she wants to be remembered for her wider impact on the game.

The 38-year-old forward is more proud of what she and her USWNT teammates have accomplished off the field “by a mile,” she told reporters Saturday.

“I think we’ve been a big part of pushing, talking about, whether it’s gay rights or racial justice or trans rights, more into every conversation around sports, and particularly around women’s sports,” she said. “We’ve been such a driver of that and have made that just as important as what we are doing on the field. We really believe it is just as important.”

On the field, Rapinoe won the 2015 and 2019 World Cup titles and an Olympic gold medal with the USWNT, and she ranks in the top 10 in team history in goals (63, 10th place) and assists (73, third place). Off the field, she has advocated for racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights as a self-described “walking protest,” and she played an instrumental role in the USWNT’s fight for equal pay.

“I’m incredibly proud of everything that we’ve done on the field,” Rapinoe said. “Obviously, we’ve been a really special generation of players.

“But I think it says a lot about us that everything on field kind of pales in comparison to what we’ve achieved off the field and where we’ve chosen to throw our weight, in the way that we have used what is our greatest gift and all of our talent and something that’s really special that we were all born with to try to make the world a better place and to try to leave the game in a much better place than where we found it.

“So I’m very proud of both. But I think the off-field stuff is what is most meaningful. And I think what I’m most proud of, leaving this team and leaving the game.”