Megan Rapinoe exited the 2023 NWSL Championship — and the final game of her illustrious career — in the sixth minute due to an injury.
While chasing after the ball, the 38-year-old OL Reign forward fell to the ground by the sideline at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, then clutched her lower right leg. She was helped off the field by trainers, putting minimal weight on the leg.
Already, Rapinoe suspected an Achilles injury, as she had felt “a huge pop” in the back of her leg. She told teammate Rose Lavelle as much at the time, and she reiterated that suspicion after the match, though she will get an MRI to confirm her self-diagnosis.
“I wasn’t overly emotional about it. I mean, f—ing yeeted my Achilles in the sixth minute in my last game ever in the literal championship game,” Rapinoe said with self-described “dark humor” after OL Reign’s 2-1 loss to Gotham FC.
Nothing in her preparation for the match foreshadowed the injury, she said, noting she felt “really good” during warmups. She also absolved the Snapdragon Stadium pitch of any responsibility for the injury.
“I guess I just rode it until the wheels really came right off,” she said.
As Rapinoe exited the field, she received a hug from Gotham FC captain Ali Krieger, who also was playing in her final professional match. Bethany Balcer replaced Rapinoe for OL Reign.
While Rapinoe went into the locker room immediately after the injury, she returned to the sidelines on crutches to support her team.
“You don’t always get to have the perfect ending,” she said. “I’ve had so many perfect endings.”
We love you, Pinoe 💙 pic.twitter.com/W9hwe5vJuF— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) November 12, 2023
We love you, Pinoe 💙 pic.twitter.com/W9hwe5vJuF
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