(CNN) — United States Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe, a two-time Women’s World Cup winner, has announced that she will retire at the end of the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.
London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Rapinoe will play her fourth and final World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand, before returning to her NWSL team OL Reign.
In addition to her many accomplishments in the field, Rapinoe is known for her work on social issues, ranging from LGBTQ+ rights to racial inequality, gender and pay equity. In 2022, Rapinoe became the first footballer to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“I was able to have an incredible career, and this match took me all over the world and allowed me to meet so many incredible people,” Rapinoe told reporters at a press conference ahead of the friendly. of the USWNT against Wales.
“I am incredibly grateful to have played for so long, to have the success that we have had and to have been part of a generation of players who have undoubtedly left the game better than they did. To be able to play one last World Cup and one last NWSL season and go there on my own terms is incredibly special.”
“I will always appreciate the friendships and support over the years in this game, and I’m beyond excited for one last trip with the national team and the reigns,” she added.
Since her USWNT debut in July 2006, Rapinoe has earned 199 caps for her country and has been described by US Soccer as “one of the most significant figures in the history of American football and women’s soccer around the world. “.
The 38-year-old has scored 63 goals and registered 73 assists for the USWNT and in 2019 won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s The Best award after a brilliant Women’s World Cup in which she won the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Boot. Gold.
During his non-national team career, Rapinoe won the French league title and the Coupe de France with Lyon in the 2012-2013 season and won three NWSL Shields with Seattle Reign and OL Reign.
“Megan is a generational talent,” said USWNT Executive Director Kate Markgraf. “When you talk about players performing on the biggest stages, she ranks among the best to ever make the United States Women’s National Team.
“And those are just his contributions on the pitch. His contributions off the pitch are the epitome of someone who saw he had a great platform and put it to good use.”
USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski called Rapinoe “one of the most important players in women’s soccer history and a personality like no other.”
“She produced so many memorable moments for her team and the fans on the pitch that will be long remembered, but her impact on people as a human being may be even greater,” added Andonovski.
“It was a wonderful experience coaching her in the NWSL and for the national team and I hope she will be an important part of our squad at the World Cup.”