Megan Rapinoe's Career Finale in NWSL Championship
|Sue Bird comforts Megan Rapinoe #15 of OL Reign following the 2023 NWSL Championship against NJ/NY Gotham FC at Snapdragon Stadium on November 11, 2023 in San Diego, California.(Image-Getty)
Megan Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup champion, experienced an unexpected and premature conclusion to her illustrious professional career during the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) championship. The much-anticipated match between her team, OL Reign, and Gotham FC was supposed to be an emotional farewell for the renowned 2019 Ballon d'Or winner and her former U.S. women's national team companion, Ali Krieger.
However, the retirement celebration took a sudden turn when Rapinoe suffered an apparent non-contact injury, forcing her to leave the field in the third minute. Grasping at her right calf and visibly in discomfort, she received a standing ovation from the fans at San Diego's Snapdragon Stadium.
In a poignant moment, Krieger, playing for the opposing Gotham FC, rushed to her injured friend, offering a comforting embrace as Rapinoe made her way off the pitch. Despite Rapinoe's previous struggles with a calf injury this year, the abrupt exit from her final professional match left both fans and fellow U.S. women's national team veterans, including retired star Mia Hamm, utterly shocked and disheartened. Hamm expressed her sentiments, stating, "Absolutely gutted," on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).