England Women manager Sarina Wiegman has praised Megan Rapinoe, describing her as a “trailblazer” after the two-time World Cup winner played her final game for the United States before retirement. Rapinoe’s farewell appearance in international football came in a 2-0 friendly win against South Africa in Chicago, where the 38-year-old was involved in both goals.
Rapinoe’s impact on and off the pitch has been undeniable. She won the Golden Boot, Golden Ball, and Ballon d’Or for her role in the USWNT’s triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign. However, she has also been influential in advocating for social justice issues such as racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and equal pay in women’s soccer.
Speaking ahead of England’s Nations League game against the Netherlands, Wiegman expressed her admiration for Rapinoe’s legacy. She acknowledged the USWNT’s role as trailblazers in women’s football and society, stating that everyone should be thankful for what Rapinoe leaves behind. Wiegman added, “I have so much respect for her.”
Wiegman also highlighted the impact her own players have had in driving change. The England Women’s team recently reached an agreement with the Football Association over performance-related bonuses after prolonged negotiations. Wiegman praised her players for being conscious of society and using their platform to effect positive change. She commended their outspokenness and ability to articulate themselves well.
Rapinoe’s final game saw her leave the Soldier Field pitch to a standing ovation from the crowd. With 203 caps and 63 goals for her national team, she played in four World Cups, winning in 2015 and 2019, and helped the USWNT secure Olympic gold at the 2012 London Games. Reflecting on her career, Rapinoe expressed gratitude for the opportunity to wear the national team shirt, play with talented teammates, and live out her childhood dream. She acknowledged the impact she has had on the game and the support she has received from fans.
While Rapinoe’s international career has come to an end, she is scheduled to play her last National Women’s Soccer League regular-season game with OL Reign on October 6 against the Washington Spirit in Seattle. This will mark the end of a remarkable journey for Rapinoe, who has left an indelible mark on women’s soccer and sports as a whole.
As we bid farewell to Rapinoe’s illustrious career, it is important to recognize the lasting impact she has had both on and off the pitch. Her achievements as a player are remarkable, but it is her advocacy for social justice that truly sets her apart. Rapinoe has used her platform to fight for equality and challenge societal norms, making her a role model for aspiring athletes around the world.
Rapinoe’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations of athletes to use their voices and platforms for positive change. Her fearless approach to speaking out against injustice serves as a reminder that sports can be a powerful tool for driving social progress. As we celebrate Rapinoe’s remarkable career, let us also embrace the values she embodies and work towards creating a more inclusive and equal world both on and off the field.
In conclusion, Megan Rapinoe’s retirement marks the end of an era in women’s soccer. Her impact as a player and advocate for social justice will be remembered for years to come. As Sarina Wiegman aptly put it, Rapinoe is a trailblazer who has left behind a legacy that we should all be thankful for. Let us celebrate her achievements and continue to strive for equality in women’s sports and beyond.