(NEW YORK) — Megan Rapinoe is saying goodbye to the U.S. Women’s National Team.
In an emotional post that the U.S. soccer star shared on Instagram after the USWNT’s heartbreaking loss against Sweden earlier this week, which resulted in their elimination from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Rapinoe reflected on the sport she loves most and the women she shared the game with over the years.
“This game is so beautiful, even in its cruelest moments,” Rapinoe wrote. “This group was so very special, and I am immensely proud of every single one of us. This team is in special hands as I walk away, just like it always was, and always will be. Because that is what this team is all about.”
“We lay it all out on the line every single time. Fighting with everything that we have, for everything we deserve, for every person we possibly can,” Rapinoe continued.
“It has been my honor to play for our country, with so many incredible woman, for so many years,” she said. “Thank you, a million times over. ❤️”
Rapinoe, who served as co-captain of the team from 2018 to 2020, announced in July that she would be retiring from the sport after the 2023 World Cup and this year’s National Women’s Soccer League season.
“I just want to be able to soak in every moment, share it with teammates and friends and family and share with the rest of the world,” the soccer star said during a press conference. “I could have just never imagined where this beautiful game would have taken me.”
During her illustrious career, she has won two World Cups, gold and silver Olympic Medals, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball and Golden Boot.
Off the field, Rapinoe has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality and pay equity. With her help, U.S. Soccer and the unions for both the men’s and women’s national teams reached an agreement last year that will achieve “equal pay and set the global standard moving forward in international soccer.”
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