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Megan Rapinoe announces she will retire at the end of the season


By Matias Grez and Kevin Dotson, CNN

(CNN) — US Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe, a two-time Women’s World Cup winner, has announced she will retire at the end of the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.

Rapinoe, an Olympic gold medalist from London 2012, will play in her fourth and final World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand, before returning to her NWSL team OL Reign.

In addition to her many on-field achievements, Rapinoe is well-known for her work on social issues, ranging from LGBTQ+ rights to racial inequality to gender and pay equity. In 2022, Rapinoe became the first soccer player to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I’ve been able to have such an incredible career, and this game has brought me all over the world and allowed me to meet so many amazing people,” Rapinoe told reporters at a press conference ahead of USWNT’s friendly match against Wales.

“I feel incredibly grateful to have played as long as I have, to be as successful as we’ve been, and to have been a part of a generation of players who undoubtedly left the game better than they found it. To be able to play one last World Cup and one last NWSL season and go out on my own terms is incredibly special.”

“I will forever cherish the friendships and support over the years in this game, and I am beyond excited for one last ride with the National Team and the Reign,” she added.

Since making her USWNT debut in July 2006, Rapinoe has gone on to win 199 caps for her country and was described by US Soccer as “one of the most impactful figures in the history of soccer in the United States and in the global women’s game.”

The 38-year-old has scored 63 goals and registered 73 assists for the USWNT and in 2019 won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s The Best award after a scintillating Women’s World Cup in which she earned the Golden Ball and Golden Boot.

In her domestic career, Rapinoe won the French league title and French Cup with Lyon in the 2012-2013 season and has won three NWSL Shields with the Seattle Reign and OL Reign.

“Megan is a generational talent,” said USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf. “When you talk about players performing on the biggest stages, she’s right up there with the best to ever do it for the US Women’s National Team.

“And that’s just her contributions on the field. Her contributions off the field are the epitome of someone who saw that she had a large platform and used it for good.”

USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski called Rapinoe “one of the most important players in women’s soccer history and a personality like no other.”

“She has produced so many memorable moments for her team and the fans on the field that will be remembered for a very long time, but her impact on people as a human being may be even more important,” Andonovski added.

“It’s been a wonderful experience to coach her in the NWSL and for the National Team and I’m looking forward to her being an important part of our team at the World Cup.”

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