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Soccer Champ Megan Rapinoe Set To Retire After World Cup

Soccer Champ Megan Rapinoe Set To Retire After World Cup

Megan Rapinoe
Romain Biard/Shutterstock

The World Cup and Olympic medal winner is hanging up her cleats after a career full of LGBTQ+ advocacy work.

Two-time Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe is planning to hang up her cleats at the end of the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season.

Ahead of her fourth and final World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the openly gay soccer star announced the news that she plans to retire from the sport.

“I feel incredibly grateful to have played as long as I have, to be as successful as I’ve been, and to have been part of a generation of players who undoubtedly left the game better than they found it,” Rapinoe said at a press conference before the U.S. Women’s National Team's match against Wales, as reported by CNN. “To be able to play one last World Cup and one last NWSL season and go out on my own terms is incredibly special.”

Rapinoe continued, thanking those who have supported her over the course of her long soccer career, “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 Reign.”

The legendary Seattle Reign star is leaving behind an impressive legacy within the world of sports. She has taken home two World Cup titles, two Olympic medals, the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, and last year Rapinoe became the first soccer player to ever received the Presidential Medal of Honor.

On top of setting the soccer field on fire, the 38-year-old athlete also made an impact through her off-field advocacy work. She became one of the first out gay women in soccer when she disclosed her sexuality to Out in 2012. Overall, she’s been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, and gender pay equity. Last year, Rapinoe was one of the U.S. women’s soccer stars who fought to win a $24 million settlement stemming from a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging unequal pay with men’s soccer players.

She’s even been a very visible and vocal advocate for trans rights at a time when waves of anti-trans hate and legislation are sweeping the nation. Ahead of the U.S. Women’s National Team's match against Canada, Rapinoe and her teammates took to Twitter to post a photo of themselves wearing an armband that read “Defend Trans Joy.”

She was also one of 40 Olympic and Paralympic athletes to sign an open letter opposing the federal Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, a bill that makes it illegal for trans girls to participate in school sports programs that align with their gender.

“It’s particularly frustrating when women’s sports is weaponized [against trans people],” Rapinoe said in a recent interview with Time Magazine. “Oh, now we care about fairness? Now we care about women’s sports? That’s total bullshit. And show me all the trans people who are nefariously taking advantage of being trans in sports. It’s just not happening.”

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.