After 11 years, all playing for the same club since the inception of the NWSL, Reign Original Megan Rapinoe has announced her retirement from soccer after the 2023 season.
Rapinoe is currently with the United States Women’s National Team, preparing for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in pursuit of a three-peat as World Cup champions.
“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,” said Rapinoe in a U.S. Soccer release. “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.”
Rapinoe joined OL Reign — then called Seattle Reign FC — halfway through the inaugural 2013 season after completing a loan spell at Olympique Lyonnais. As she rose through the USWNT and became one of the faces for both club and country, Rapinoe always put on the Reign shirt and delivered on the field. Last season, Rapinoe reached 100 NWSL appearances for the Reign and to date has scored 48 goals to go along with 25 assists in all competitions. She’s also delivered three NWSL Shields, awarded for the best regular season records in 2014, 2015, and 2022. Rapinoe is one-third of the club’s remaining Reign Originals, along with midfielder Jess Fishlock and defender Lauren Barnes, as players who have been with the Reign since Day 1.
Beyond what she’s done at the Reign, Rapinoe’s honors on the international stage are what dreams are made of. Accolades include two World Cup titles (2015, 2019), two Olympic Games medals (gold in 2012, bronze in 2021), three-time CONCACAF Women’s Championship titles (2014, 2018, 2022), and The Best FIFA Women’s Player honors in 2019.
Rapinoe’s celebrity transcended the confines of sport in becoming a name in pop culture through her presence and involvement in LGBTQIA+ advocacy, rights, and education. Fighting for equal pay along with her national teammates as part of the bigger gender pay gap. Being temporarily exiled from the USWNT for kneeling during the national anthem in solidarity with exiled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Becoming a target of a former U.S. president. Yet through it all, Rapione remained true to herself, what she feels is worth fighting for, continuously learning what it means and how to be an ally — culminating in the highest possible honor a US civilian could receive, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022.
Back to what Rapinoe has done on the field in a Reign shirt over her 11-year career. It’s a film archive of goals, automatic penalties converted, and more. It is impossible to list every Megan Rapinoe highlight, but here are a few of them.
And of course, she delivered at the biggest stage of them all, the World Cup. Here’s a compilation of the goals she scored at the 2019 tournament in France.
“Megan Rapinoe is one of the most important players in women’s soccer history and a personality like no other,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “She has produced so many memorable moments for her team and the fans on the field that will be remembered for a very long time, but her impact on people as a human being may be even more important.”
The club announced that at their regular season home finale on Friday, Oct. 6, the match will be titled, “Forever Reign: A Celebration of Megan Rapinoe” with additional details to come later. No doubt that with today’s announcement, whichever matches Rapinoe will play for OL Reign after the World Cup will be a farewell tour for without a doubt one of the club, the sport, and Seattle’s biggest names and personalities.