Megan Rapinoe's illustrious career is coming to an end. On July 8, Rapinoe, 12 days before the USWNT's FIFA Women's World Cup campaign kicks off in New Zealand, announced that she would be retiring at the end of the 2023 National Women's Soccer League season.
The timing of Rapinoe's announcement is certainly an interesting one, although she has some very good justification for her decision to make such a major decision prior to their quest to defend their World Cup crown.
Speaking with reporters, Megan Rapinoe said that announcing her retirement this early should help remove some distractions for USWNT. Since she's already 38 years old, there would have been a ton of speculation during the World Cup about her future — and making an ironclad decision about her retirement erases all those questions.
“I think it allows me to focus a lot more, allows the team to focus a lot more. We don't have to get questions every time, every single game. It's just kind of out there and I can just really enjoy it and focus on trying to win the tournament,” Rapinoe said, per AP via ESPN.
Given the tough competition gunning for the USWNT's World Cup crown, Megan Rapinoe and company must be in peak condition so they could win the United States' fifth triumph in the illustrious international tournament. Thus, cutting off the outside noise that may come from all the hullabaloo surrounding her retirement was nothing short of a smart move for the 38-year old forward.
“Obviously I'm 38 years old, I'm not going to be playing forever and it just always feels weird for me to have something settled and feel at peace and to not answer a question honestly. I kind of wanted to have that for myself,” Rapinoe said.
Since first bursting onto the scene for USWNT in 2006, Megan Rapinoe has tallied 199 international caps, scoring 63 goals for the side through 17 years. She has also added 73 assists to the United States' cause.
During the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, Rapinoe combined with Alex Morgan to form a deadly goal-scoring duo up top. Rapinoe and Morgan scored six goals each during the competition. Fans certainly expect to see a similar level of play from Rapinoe even as she approaches the end of her career.