On Saturday, renowned U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe made the decision to retire at the conclusion of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season, marking the end of an illustrious career.
Having represented her country in international competitions since her debut in 2006, the 38-year-old forward has been an instrumental figure in numerous triumphs for the national team. Notably, she played a pivotal role in securing World Cup victories in both 2015 and 2019, along with capturing Olympic gold in 2012. Currently playing for OL Reign in the NWSL, Rapinoe’s last game of the regular season will take place on October 15, with the championship game scheduled for November 11.
Undeniably, one of the most iconic images in U.S. soccer history is that of Rapinoe standing triumphantly, arms outstretched, celebrating her goal against France during the 2019 World Cup quarterfinals.
Related: U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe announces retirement following National Women’s Soccer League season
U.S. Soccer Federation President Cindy Parlow Cone emphasized Rapinoe’s immense impact on both the sport and society as a whole. She stated, “I don’t think Megan Rapinoe’s influence can be overstated. Not only is she one of the greatest players to have represented our national team, but her off-field contributions have been tremendous.”
Parlow Cone further highlighted the invaluable opportunity for growth and learning that she personally experienced by observing Rapinoe’s leadership and example. She believes that Rapinoe’s influence has extended far beyond soccer and has resonated with people worldwide.
Megan Rapinoe: A Trailblazer On and Off the Field
“We will miss her playing on the national team and playing between the white lines, but I know Megan Rapinoe’s story is not done yet and I look forward to seeing what she chooses to do after her playing days are done,” said Parlow Cone, herself a World Cup winner in 1999 and an Olympic gold medalist in 1996 and 2004.
Challenging the Status Quo
Megan Rapinoe, a soccer star known for her impressive skills on the field, isn’t afraid to make her voice heard off the field as well. Rapinoe played a pivotal role in the U.S. women’s team’s successful battle for pay equity with the men’s national team, cementing her reputation as a leader and advocate for social change. Her advocacy extends to LGBTQ+ issues where she has become a prominent figure.
Standing Up Against Injustice
In 2019, Rapinoe found herself embroiled in a heated war of words with then-President Donald Trump. Trump criticized her for protesting during the playing of the U.S. national anthem at the World Cup in France. Undeterred, Rapinoe firmly stated that her protest was a stand against social injustice in the United States.
Making Waves Beyond Soccer
Rapinoe’s impact isn’t limited to the soccer field. Alongside her fiancée, WNBA star Sue Bird, she founded the production company, A Touch More. This venture, launched in collaboration with media and commerce company Togethxr, aims to amplify the stories of culture-shifting revolutionaries. A Touch More strives to create content that brings about positive change.
Additionally, Rapinoe holds the position of chief equality officer at Trusaic, a workplace equity company committed to creating a more inclusive environment for all.
A Champion of Progress, A Voice for Change
Megan Rapinoe’s influence stretches beyond her athletic achievements. In a recent interview with Time, she discussed her role as a “mogul for women’s sports, a mogul for good.” Despite her passion for creating a positive impact, Rapinoe clarified that she has no intentions of running for public office.
Note: Additional reporting by Quentin Fottrell.