International soccer star Megan Rapinoe will leave her national team career a winner.
The United States Women’s National Team defeated South Africa 2-0 in a friendly at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday as Rapinoe played her final match with the team.
The 38-year-old midfielder from California captained the squad and was in the starting lineup in the last match of a two-game series.
Before kickoff, Rapinoe was recognized with a jersey bearing “203” for her number of appearances for the national team.
Rapinoe’s family and fiancée, former WNBA star Sue Bird, were in attendance and shared an embrace with the retiring athlete.
The United States got the scoring started early following a Trinity Rodman goal in the 18th minute.
Forty-nine minutes in, Rapinoe attempted a corner kick, which led to a goal from Emily Sonnett to extend the lead. While celebrating with teammates, Rapinoe did her iconic celebration, arms widely outstretched, to the crowd’s delight.
A few minutes later, Rapinoe attempted a free kick that almost found the back of the net.
She was substituted off the pitch in the 54th minute and received a resounding ovation from spectators. A visibly emotional Rapinoe waved to the crowd and embraced all her teammates and coaches one last time.
After the game, she addressed the crowd at Soldier Field to thank them for the outpouring of support.
“We have fought so hard on the field, had so much fun, been so successful – doing it underneath all of your guys’ cheers,” Rapinoe said.
“It has been such an honor to be able to wear this shirt and to play with all of these amazing players and to just live out my childhood dream casually in front of the world,” she said.
The athlete also thanked her teammates, the US Soccer Federation and her family, calling it an honor to have played for so long.
“It’s going to be my honor to be an alumni of this team and watch this team continue to be as successful as we have been. … I love you guys,” Rapinoe concluded to a loud cheer as she walked off the pitch.
Since making her debut in 2006, Rapinoe has scored 63 goals and made 73 assists – ranking in the top 10 for both categories in US women’s team history.
Along the way, she claimed gold at the London Olympics in 2012 and won two World Cup trophies in 2015 and 2019.
Also in 2019, Rapinoe was awarded the Ballon d’Or Féminin and FIFA’s The Best award.