This will be the last ride for Megan Rapinoe.
The USWNT superstar and women’s soccer icon announced Saturday that she will retire following the 2023 NWSL season and that the 2023 World Cup will be her last.
“I’ve been able to have such an amazing 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 released by 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.
“To be able to play one last World Cup and one last NWSL season and go out on my own terms is incredibly special.
“I want to thank my family for being by my side all these years. Thanks to all my teammates and coaches all the way back to my first days in Redding, on to college at the University of Portland and of course thanks to U.S. Soccer, the Seattle Reign an especially Sue [Bird] for everything.
“I will forever cherish the friendship and support over the years in this game and I am beyond excited for one last ride with the National Team and the Reign.”
The NWSL regular season ends in October.
The United States’ World Cup opener against Vietnam will presumably be Rapinoe’s 200th international cap, making her the 14th player in the nation’s history to do so.
The 38-year-old has a chance to make more history in Australia and New Zealand as she seeks to lead the US to a third straight World Cup title
Rapinoe won the 2019 Ballon d’Or Feminin as the best female soccer player in the world after scoring six goals in five games at the World Cup.
She is also known for being politically outspoken, having been the first white and female athlete to kneel during the national anthem after Colin Kaepernick began protesting in 2016.
Rapinoe came out as gay in July 2012 and was a key figure in the USWNT’s successful fight for equal pay.
The Redding, Calif., native will retire as perhaps the most celebrated player in USWNT history.
“Megan Rapinoe is one of the most important players in women’s soccer history and a personality like no other,” USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a statement.
“She has produced so many memorable moments for her team and the fans on the field that will be remembered for a very long time, but her impact on people as a human being may be even more important.
“It’s been a wonderful experience to coach her in the NWSL and for the national team and I’m looking forward to her being an important part of our team at the World Cup.”