Rapinoe's Inspiring Legacy and Farewell to International Football
Megan Rapinoe, in a heartfelt statement during a news conference on the eve of her last international football match, expressed her satisfaction and contentment with both her on-field and off-field endeavors. As she prepared to bid farewell to the international stage, Rapinoe underlined the significance of her unwavering commitment to various social causes throughout her illustrious career.
Renowned not only for her two-time World Cup victories but also for her passionate activism, Rapinoe gained widespread recognition for championing LGBT+ rights, standing in solidarity with NFL athlete Colin Kaepernick, and fearlessly confronting former U.S. President Donald Trump.
She emphasized the profound impact of her activism, stating, "The off-field aspects of my career hold the most profound meaning for me, and it's what I'm most proud of as I leave this team and retire from the game." Rapinoe commended her team's willingness to embrace social justice issues, including racial equality and LGBTQ+ rights, asserting that they transcended their roles on the field to become advocates for change.
Reflecting on her generation of players, Rapinoe humbly noted, "We've been an extraordinary generation of athletes, but I believe it speaks volumes that our achievements on the pitch pale in comparison to our off-field contributions."
While her last appearance for the U.S. national team against South Africa marked her formal farewell, Rapinoe made it clear that she had no intentions of fading from the public eye. Instead, she expressed eagerness to continue contributing to the growth of women's sports, not limited to soccer alone. She acknowledged the unique moment in history for women's sports and her desire to leverage her platform and influence to further advance various causes.
Rapinoe's optimism extended to the future of the national squad, where she saw great potential in the emerging generation of players. She singled out athletes like Naomi Girma, Trinity Rodman, and Sophia Smith, highlighting Girma's dedication to mental health advocacy as a particularly noteworthy endeavor.
As she looked ahead, Rapinoe announced her final NWSL regular season game with the OL Reign, scheduled for October 6th against the Washington Spirit in Seattle, reinforcing her commitment to the sport and her ongoing pursuit of social change.