Megan Rapinoe, known for her skills on the pitch and her strength in her advocacy, played her final regular season home game in Seattle this weekend to a NWSL record-breaking crowd of 34,130.
After the game, Rapinoe made an emotional speech. “It just feels like home. It was always the safest place,” she said. “This was just always the place where I could be myself and be safe and be protected, just go out and try stuff. To be able to play here my whole career in one city, basically with one manager…it’s just really special to be able to have this.”
Rapinoe took a moment to thank all of the fans who showed up, recognizing the unprecedentedly large crowd for a women’s sports event.
“Thank you so much to all the fans who showed up, this is what we’ve wanted for so long. I am at a little bit at a loss for words. I don’t know who to thank other than every single person. It’s been such an incredible journey,” Rapinoe said.
Rapinoe has played for the OL Reign, a Seattle-based club, since its inauguration to the NWSL in 2013. Fans showed out, wearing pink wigs to honor Rapinoe’s signature hair. Her teammates along with famous figures like Billie Jean King, Magic Johnson, Mikaela Shiffrin and the second gentleman Doug Emhoff created a tribute video thanking her for all she has done for the sport.
In her career, Rapinoe has won two World Cups and an Olympic medal. Off the field, she was awarded the President Medal of Freedom by President Joe Biden for her work in advocacy of LGBTQ+ rights, racial equity, and equal pay for women in sports.
Though Rapinoe has retired as a player, she is not looking to leave the game of soccer behind. When asked about what was next for her, she expressed that she wanted to continue to help foster the growth of women’s sports.
“I’m really looking forward to, you know, being sort of one of the business architects in this next space,” Rapinoe said. She added, more than anything, she is looking forward to resting.