U.S. Soccer Legend Megan Rapinoe Announces Retirement At The End Of The Season

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United States soccer player Megan Rapinoe announced Saturday she will retire from the sport at the end of the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season.

“It is with a deep sense of peace and gratitude that I have decided this will be my final season playing this beautiful game. I never could have imagined the ways in which soccer would shape and change my life forever,” Rapinoe wrote in an Instagram post Saturday.

A decorated and beloved player, Rapinoe has scored 63 career goals with 73 assists. She won gold at the Olympic Games in 2012 and is a two-time World Cup champion. Her performance at the 2019 World Cup earned her the Best FIFA Women’s Player 2019 and the 2019 Ballon d’Or Féminin.

Rapinoe, who came out as gay in 2012, has also been an active advocate for the LGBTQ community, gender equality and voting rights. She was the first soccer player to ever receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022, and she was featured in the 2023 TIME Women of the Year list.

“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 said in a statement to U.S. Soccer. “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.”

Rapinoe will play in her final World Cup this summer and finish the season with her long-time club OL Reign. Her club said it will pay tribute to Rapinoe and her “illustrious career” at its final match of the regular season on Oct. 6.