While Megan Rapinoe’s career ended in injury in the 2023 NWSL Championship, the two-time World Cup winner leaves the game a legend.
Her career brought with it triumph and controversy, as Rapinoe became a lightning rod for criticism due to her outspoken activism. But she left the pitch for the final time as an icon. Her final regular-season home game set viewership and attendance records for the NWSL, and players and fans alike have had nothing but good things to say as the 38-year-old forward prepared to make her goodbyes.
“I think we always knew that the most powerful voice in the room was Pinoe,” OL Reign coach Laura Harvey said of Rapinoe in October. “And she never shied away from that. She was always willing to put herself in front of all the bullets that everyone was willing to throw at her to try and better the club internally.”
OL Reign’s goal to get Rapinoe her one and only NWSL championship did not come to fruition. But maybe that’s OK.
After all, this is a player that has seen, won and done almost everything else. She’s won two World Cups, an Olympic gold medal, the Ballon d’Or, Best FIFA Women’s Player and more. She even has a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
And she will go down in history as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
So much has been said about Rapinoe and what she has meant to this game since she announced her retirement ahead of the World Cup. And now she says goodbye to the game. But it’s not goodbye for good.
“I’m going to be a part of this next phase of women’s sports, not just soccer hopefully, but even beyond that,” Rapinoe said in October. “So many players in this generation have had such a huge part in building the foundation and the beginning stages of what is a really exciting time in women’s sports.
“I’m not going to miss out on the fruits of that labor, and just disappear and not be a part of it. I think I have so much to offer.”