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Megan Rapinoe Bids Farewell to USWNT in Final Game Against South Africa

Megan Rapinoe, one of the most celebrated women's soccer players of our time, has announced her retirement from international play following the United States Women’s National Team’s (USWNT) final game against South Africa on Sunday. With two Women’s World Cup titles, over 200 caps to her name, and countless achievements on and off the field, her departure marks the end of an era for women's soccer as one of the craftiest players. 

Rapinoe announced her retirement from international competition and the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) at the end of the 2023 season in July, before competing in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Rapinoe was listed in the top ten in USWNT history in both goals and assists heading into her fourth and final World Cup this summer, and she was one of the most effective players.

"I just want to be able to soak in every moment, share it with teammates and friends and family and share with the rest of the world," she said during a press conference. "I could have just never imagined where this beautiful game would have taken me."

Rapinoe played a crucial role in leading her team through victorious games. Her contributions were instrumental in securing triumph at both the 2015 and 2019 Women's World Cup tournaments. Rapinoe's goal-scoring abilities proved to be essential to the team's success, ultimately earning her the prestigious Golden Boot award for top scorer and the Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player. On the Olympic stage, Rapinoe won gold and bronze medals with the USWNT.

FIFA recognized her incredible talent by naming her the Women's Player of the Year in 2019, where she gave a memorable speech to address the issues within the global soccer community.

“I feel like if we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody other than Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly, if they were as outraged about racism as they were…If everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players…if everybody was as outraged about equal pay or the lack thereof of the lack of investment in the women’s game other than just women, that would be the most inspiring thing to me.”

Throughout her career, Rapinoe was a vocal leader off the pitch. She strongly believed in equality and was a powerful advocate for LGBTQ rights, women's rights, and racial justice. In September 2016, Rapinoe started kneeling during the American National Anthem to show solidarity with former NFL football quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick. She stood by her stance, protesting against the social injustices faced by Black people living in the United States.

Rapinoe joined her teammates on the USWNT to take legal action in 2019 against the U.S. Soccer Federation for providing unequal pay and support to female players despite their superior on-field performance compared to their male counterparts. The dispute was resolved in 2022 through a settlement that allocated $24 million to the athletes and ensured equal pay for both the men's and women's national teams.

Rapinoe published her memoir "One Life", which became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2020, she was recognized on TIME's list of the 100 most significant individuals globally, and in 2022, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Rapinoe’s last match with the USWNT will air on TNT, Universo, and Peacock at 4:30 p.m. CDT Sunday. 



Edited by: Anwen Venn

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