The United States women's national team will officially say goodbye to Megan Rapinoe on Sept. 24. Her final game in her country's uniform will be on American soil in an international friendly against South Africa in Chicago.
Rapinoe, 38, officially announced she would retire from soccer at the end of the NWSL season, days before the USWNT left for the 2023 World Cup in Australia. Her final World Cup appearance didn't end in a third consecutive title, though, after the U.S. fell to Sweden in the Round of 16.
“People may think that my career coming to an end would bring sadness, but when I think back on the past 30-plus years of playing this game, my overriding emotions are joy and gratitude,” Rapinoe said, per U.S. Soccer. “It’s been an unbelievable ride. It will be special to have this one last opportunity to play for my country in front of our incredible fans and get the chance to thank my teammates and everyone who has had an impact on me as a person and player over the years.”
This match against South Africa will mark Rapinoe's 203rd international game for the United States, per U.S. Soccer. Rapinoe's current career marks stand at 63 goals and 73 assists — good for 10th and tied for third in USWNT history, respectively. She's also one of only 14 players with at least 200 appearances and one of only eight players with at least 50 career goals and 50 career assists.
Rapinoe's final regular season NWSL game for her professional club, OL Reign, will be on Oct. 15, 2023, although she could see minutes in the playoffs if Rapinoe's side makes it to the postseason.
She played 10 seasons with the Reign from 2013-2023 (the 2020 season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic) and has 49 career goals and 25 career assists. The Reign won the three NWSL Shield's with Rapinoe in 2014, 2015 and 2022. Rapinoe won the Women's Ballon d'Or in 2019.
While her on-field production cannot be discounted, Rapinoe's off-field legacy is equally as impressive.
She quickly applauded the "global backlash" against Spanish soccer federation Luis Rubiales after he forcibly kissed Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso at the Women's World Cup final. She was also one of the key advocates for equal pay for women's soccer players and praised ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his stance against police brutality and systemic racism in the United States.
Rapinoe was an integral part of the USWNT's rise to the top of the soccer world. And now she'll have one final farewell.