Megan Rapinoe’s final game cruelly cut short as USA icon denied fairytale farewell

Soccer legend Megan Rapinoe only lasted three minutes in her final ever game, as she had to be helped off the field after injuring herself.

Rapinoe, 38, announced before the 2023 Women’s World Cup that she would be retiring at the end of the NWSL season. Rapinoe missed a crucial penalty in a shootout as the USWNT were eliminated by Sweden, and she was denied the chance to make one final impact for OL Reign, who went on to lose 2-1.

Despite finishing fourth in the NWSL, Reign made it all the way to Saturday’s final against Gotham FC at Snapdragon Stadium, who clinched the final playoff spot. Rapinoe fought back tears as she limped off the field just minutes after the game began, as she fell awkwardly when quickly changing direction.Fans gave her a standing ovation as she left the field, with signs celebrating her career being held up by members of the crowd who showed their respect for her impact on U.S. Soccer. Rapinoe was substituted in the sixth minute as medical staff were desperate for her night to continue, but it was not possible.

Rapinoe has played for Reign since 2013, when she moved from French team Olympique Lyonnais. Reign was Rapinoe’s only NWSL team, where she scored 55 goals in 125 games across all competitions.

The soccer legend won three NWSL Shields during her time at the club, and also The Women’s Cup back in 2022. However, she never managed to win the NWSL title, and couldn’t contribute in her final game to retire as a winner.

Rapinoe did enjoy a lot of success with the USWNT though, winning the World Cup on two occasions, and also winning an Olympic gold medal back in 2012. In 2019 Rapinoe was recognized as the best women’s soccer player on the planet, winning the Ballon d’Or and The Best Women’s FIFA Player.It was a year when Rapinoe received the Golden Ball at the World Cup, being voted as the best player at the entire tournament. She also won the Golden Boot, scoring six goals for USA which included a goal in their 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final.

Rapinoe retired from international duty with 63 goals in 203 games, but before her final World Cup she shared a message with her fans as she posted a photo of her younger self. “It is with a deep sense of peace and gratitude that I have decided this will be my final season playing this beautiful game,” Rapinoe wrote.

“I never could have imagined the ways in which soccer would shape and change my life forever. By the look on this little girl’s face, I think she knew all along.”



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