After the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season and the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Megan Rapinoe plans to retire from professional soccer.

The news was announced during a press conference on Saturday by the two-time World Cup winner.

The US Womens National Team (USWNT) has described Rapinoe as a player renowned for her exceptional skills in the game, her inventive goal-scoring abilities, her critical contributions in high-stakes games, and her profound commitment to a range of societal issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, racial disparity, voting rights, and gender and wage equality.

Thus, she exits the sport as one of the most influential personalities in U.S. soccer history and within the worldwide women’s soccer community.

After finishing the 2023 NWSL season with her long-time team OL Reign, she will retire from professional soccer after participating in her last World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand.

Megan Rapinoe opens up on retirement plans

“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.

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 and especially Sue, for everything.

I will forever cherish the friendships and support over the years in this game, and I am beyond excited for one last ride with the National Team and the Reign”, she said at the press conference.

What US soccer media thinks about Rapinoe’s retirement

“It’s what she has done off the field that will define her legacy and be remembered as her biggest victories.” — Kevin Baxter, LA Times

“More and more players support causes these days but Rapinoe was in many ways a pioneer of that. 199 games for her country (and counting) but for much of the world she is more famous for her political activism than her skills on the field. That is unique.” — Simon Evans, Reuters

“Her role has changed, undoubtedly, but there’s never been any doubt about what Rapinoe has brought to this team as a leader, a locker room presence, a fighter, sometimes even a bit of a trickster god on the field, doing things simply out of joy or curiosity or sheer humor.” — Meg Linehan, The Athletic

“It has always been the moments and the creativity of her offense, not the volume of goals or assists, that truly set Rapinoe apart.” — Claire Fahy, New York Times

“Audacious. Progressive. Entertaining. Thoughtful. Choosing even a few superlatives to describe the incredible soccer career of Megan Rapinoe is a difficult task. She is a legend among legends, even in a United States women’s national team program replete with all-time greats.” — Jeff Kassouf, Equalizer Soccer

Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire