Megan Rapinoe — one of the greatest soccer players of all time, in both the men's and women's game — had her iconic career end in devastating fashion Saturday.
While chasing the ball during the sixth minute of Saturday's National Women's Soccer League championship game between the OL Reign and the Gotham FC, Rapinoe fell to the ground after feeling a "huge pop" in her Achilles tendon area. While Rapinoe's injury diagnosis hasn't been confirmed, the 38-year-old soccer legend suspects she has torn her Achilles.
Achilles injury aside, Rapinoe had announced way back in July she would be retiring from professional soccer after Saturday's game. So although Rapinoe didn't leave the pitch for the last time in a way she'd wanted, her injury isn't the reason why Rapinoe is hanging up her cleats.
We love you, Pinoe ? pic.twitter.com/W9hwe5vJuF
— National Women?s Soccer League (@NWSL) November 12, 2023
In fact, Rapinoe made light of her injury, saying, "I wasn't overly emotional about it. I mean, f—-ing yeeted my Achilles in the sixth minute in my last game ever in the literal championship game. I guess I just rode it until the wheels really came right off."
At least she doesn't seem too torn up about it.
Throughout her career, Rapinoe exemplified excellence on the soccer pitch as a two-time World Cup winner, Olympic gold medalist, Ballon d'Or winner, Best FIFA Women's Player, and 2022 Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree. But never shied away from speaking her mind off the pitch as well. Rapinoe — who scored 63 goals and tallied 73 assists in 203 appearances on the U.S. National Team — has been an outspoken activist for issues such as equal pay for the U.S. women's national team and LGBTQ+ rights. She also described herself as a "walking protest" of the Donald Trump administration.
So while Rapinoe's playing career is now finished, she'll still continue to be an advocate and ambassador for social justice and women's rights in sports. She has also made clear that she intends to stay around soccer.
"I'm going to be a part of this next phase of women's sports, not just soccer hopefully, but even beyond that," Rapinoe said in October. "So many players in this generation have had such a huge part in building the foundation and the beginning stages of what is a really exciting time in women's sports."
Megan Rapinoe's legacy will be about the way she moved the needle for women's soccer, both on and off the field. Although her illustrious career didn't end the way she would have liked, Rapinoe will still walk off into the sunset with her head held high.
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