Megan Rapinoe announced her retirement after the World Cup, NWSL season

Megan Rapinoe, the legendary soccer star who has transcended her game to become one of the most expressive, talented and dynamic athletes of her generation, doesn’t want to wait until the end to say this season is over.

She said she would not play at the Women’s World Cup starting later this month in Australia and New Zealand, retiring at the end of the year after her last major tournament for the United States. and the final season for his professional team. In true Robineau fashion, there’s no way she’s keeping quiet about something so important to her.

So at a news conference Saturday ahead of Sunday’s U.S. game against Wales in San Jose, Calif., Robineau, 38, announced it was time to say goodbye.

“I want to thank everyone,” she told a room full of reporters as the U.S. team prepared to travel to New Zealand for the Women’s World Cup. “I could never have imagined where this beautiful game would have taken me.” He said playing for the national team was “the greatest thing I’ve ever done”.

After 17 years on Team USA and speaking out in support of a variety of issues including LGBTQ rights, equal pay, the Black Lives Matter movement and voter rights, Rapinoe will play in her fourth Women’s World Cup and her final season on the women’s national team. Football League. He said he feels at peace and grateful to be able to finish his career on his own terms and at the top of his game.

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In a career filled with highlight-reel stuff on and off the field, Robineau has played 199 games for the national team and scored 63 goals for the United States. He is a three-time Olympian and won gold with his team at the 2012 London Games. And when his team needed it most, he came up with clutch plays and stamped his mark as a creative and dangerous forward.

Nothing exemplified his ability to perform under pressure more than scoring twice in the quarter-final against France at the 2019 World Cup. Former President Donald J. Her targets came days after Trump criticized her on Twitter for her stance that Trump would not run for the White House if her team won the race.

Trump said: “Meghan needs to win first before she can talk! Get the job done!”

However, Rapinoe was unmoved. In the fifth minute of that match against France, he scored a free kick and ran to the corner of the pitch, arms outstretched and engulfed in applause by the fans. Sporting hair dyed purple and often changing color with the season, he scored again in the second half to send the team into the semi-finals with a 2–1 victory. The Americans won that world title, their second in a row.

Rapinoe was amazing on the field in 2019. She won the Ballon d’Or as the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year. Her six goals in that World Cup helped her win the Golden Boot as the top scorer and the Golden Ball as the best player.

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“She’s a great player who has done so much for this program, so much for football in general,” said Alex Morgan, Robineau’s longtime teammate. “I’m really excited that she’s going to hit the ground running.”

He added: “Now we have to beat the whole damn thing.”

Rapinoe said his body still holds up after all these years, but he’s especially grateful to be on “a little borrowed time.” Like most elite athletes who have been around for nearly two decades, he has struggled with injuries.

This season, Robinho has been dealing with an ankle injury and he missed two national team friendlies against Ireland in April due to a calf injury. Even if he’s less than 100 percent, his leadership will be crucial for a relatively inexperienced U.S. team with 14 World Cup players on the 23-man roster. Many of them idolized Rabino when they were growing up, and still do.

“It’s all about her,” said defender Crystal Dunn, who says Robineau has been an inspiration to her throughout her career.

“I’ve been watching him from time to time and leaning on random things that aren’t football related,” Dunn said. “I think she’s someone you always want in your corner.”

It’s the random things and the “little things” that Rapinoe said he remembers and misses the most. It’s the feeling of walking into her locker room after a championship game and seeing lockers lined with lockers expecting a wild champagne celebration, or the excitement of seeing teammates rejoin the team after maternity leave.

Or how about participating in the Olympics: As he retires this year, he won’t play in the 2024 Paris Games next summer. “There are certain things in the game that I think you have to regret when you walk away,” he said.

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With the news of his retirement behind him and the final moments of his career approaching, Rapinoe will try to keep all those feelings alive. He said he can concentrate on winning the World Cup without getting distracted.

One thing she learned was that “very, very early on,” Rabino said, “if there’s a second on the clock, that’s enough time.”

Claire Fahy Reported from San Jose, California.

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