A Tribute to U.S. Women’s National Team Legend- Megan Rapinoe

Tonight the United States Women’s National Team legend and international star Megan Rapinoe will compete in her final international soccer game, bidding farewell to her remarkable international career. The acclaimed soccer star announced her retirement from her beloved sport in July 2023, ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Rapinoe was glad she could announce her retirement on her terms and focus on the task at hand, competing to the best of her abilities in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Not only does Rapinoe have impressive accomplishments on the soccer field, but she has also used her platform to be outspoken and advocate for the rights that she believes in. As the world bids farewell to the soccer star’s impressive 17-year-long career with the United States Women’s National Team, it is essential to look back at her achievements both on and off the field throughout her lengthy career.

Early Life & Collegiate Career

The soccer star was born in Redding, California, on July 5, 1985, and began playing soccer at the ripe age of 5. Rapinoe would then receive a scholarship to play soccer at the University of Portland but ended up delaying her enrollment so that she could play in both the U.S. Soccer’s Under-16 and Under-19 teams. She would go on to make 21 appearances in the Under-19 team between 2003 and 2005. In 2004, Megan appeared in the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand as she played for the United States team.

After delaying her enrollment, the acclaimed soccer player joined the University of Portland in 2005 and led the team to win the NCAA Division I Championship that same year. The distinguished player joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2006 following her first year at the University of Portland.

Rapinoe’s Professional Career

Rapinoe began her professional career when she was selected second overall by the Chicago Red Stars in the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft. Following her first season with the Red Stars, the soccer star was named to the WPS league’s All-Star team as she competed in 17 out of 18 games and scored two goals that season. Following her first season with the Red Stars, Megan signed with the Philadelphia Independence, and after playing four games for the team, she switched to the Boca Raton MagicJack team.

Megan Rapinoe got a glimpse at the international soccer stage in 2011 when she traveled to Australia to compete as a guest player for two games in the W-League for Sydney FC. Following her debut with Sydney FC, the soccer star signed with the Seattle Sounders Women in 2012 and appeared in two regular-season games. That same year, Rapinoe competed in the London Summer Olympics for the U.S. Women’s National Team and helped the team secure a gold medal. 

After playing for various NWSL teams and the U.S. Women’s National Team in the 2012 London Olympics, the acclaimed star signed with the French team Olympique Lyonnais for six months in 2013. She aided Lyonnais in winning the Coupe de France and league titles in the 2012-13 season. Despite the French team’s loss in the 2013 final, Rapinoe became the fifth American female soccer player to compete in the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. 

Following her brief career in Europe, Megan returned to the United States, signed with Seattle Reign FC in 2013, and became the team’s leading scorer despite only competing in 12 out of 22 regular season games. Rapinoe would spend the rest of her career in Seattle, helping the team secure three NWSL Shields in 2014, 2015, and 2022. 

Career Accomplishments

Throughout her 17-year-long career, the distinguished soccer player has competed in four World Cups for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She helped her team secure two World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. As Megan entered her fourth and final World Cup in 2023, the star was ranked in the top 10 players in the history of the USWNT in goals and assists, and also for being an impactful player on and off the field. 

In 2019 alone, Rapinoe was awarded the Golden Ball for being the best player of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Golden Boot award for being the top scorer at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. She also received the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, the Ballon d’Or, and the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award. These prestigious awards were awarded to the star in one year alone. 

Off-field Activism & Accomplishments

Not only is Megan an extremely successful star on the field, but she also is known for her activism and accomplishments off the field. The soccer star is widely known for her activism on equal pay. Rapinoe has been an outspoken advocate for equal pay and was at the forefront of the fight for change.

In March 2020, Rapinoe and her teammates wore their warm-up jerseys inside out to hide the crest for the U.S. Soccer Federation as they protested the U.S. Soccer’s court ruling stating that female soccer players did not have equal skills, effort, or responsibility as the men. Following constant activism, Rapinoe got to experience the landmark equal pay agreement in 2022 that awarded a 50-50 split to the men and women who compete for the U.S. national soccer teams and allowed both teams the same pay and prize money. 

Megan has also utilized her extensive platform to tackle issues such as racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights. Rapinoe has been a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community, as she is a member of the community herself. The acclaimed soccer star was also the first white athlete to kneel in solidarity during the playing of the national anthem in 2016. She has continuously risked her reputation and career to fight for causes she believes in. Hopefully, she will continue to utilize her platform and encourage other athletes to use theirs to advocate for what they believe in. 

On July 1, 2022, Rapinoe was selected by President Joe Biden to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This medal is bestowed on certain United States civilians, awarding them the highest civilian honor. The acclaimed soccer star became the very first soccer player to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and she was one of six female athletes or coaches to have been awarded the medal. 

A Farewell to Rapinoe’s Remarkable Career

Rapinoe’s final game with the U.S. Women’s National Team will be on September 24, and this will be the soccer star’s final international game and her 203rd game for her country. The distinguished star will conclude her career in the United States on October 15, the final regular season match for the OL Reign. Throughout her remarkable career, she achieved numerous accomplishments on the field and forever changed the game after her fight for equal pay. Rapinoe is leaving the soccer world in a better state than she entered it, and she has broken many barriers for those who follow her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *