Megan Rapinoe Exits Early In NWSL Championship Due To Injury
In a heart-wrenching turn of events OL Reign's celebrated winger Megan Rapinoe exits early in NWSL championship due to injury. During the tense match against NJ/NY Gotham FC, which concluded in a 2-1 loss for the Reign, Rapinoe experienced what she feared to be a torn Achilles tendon. Her early exit, merely six minutes into the game at Snapdragon Stadium, was not the finale she had envisioned.
Rapinoe described the moment of her noncontact injury.
It felt like just a huge pop. The worst possible outcome. I just thank god I have like a f---ing deep well of sense of humor. But yeah, I mean, just obviously devastating to go out in the final so early.- Megan Rapinoe
The incident marked a significant moment in women's soccer, as it not only ended Rapinoe's game but also signaled the close of her storied career. Rapinoe, who recently retired from the U.S. women's national team, had been in high spirits before the match. "That's life; it's part of the game. I was feeling really good before the game, wasn't feeling tight or wasn't having calf issues or anything. You don't always get to have the perfect ending," she added, reflecting on the unpredictability of sports.
Following her injury and subsequent replacement by Bethany Balcer, OL Reign struggled to turn the game around. Despite a late opportunity stemming from a red card to Gotham's goalkeeper Mandy Haught, the Reign couldn't secure an equalizer to push the game into extra time.
Meanwhile, Rapinoe's counterpart and former U.S. teammate, Ali Krieger, also concluded her professional journey with this game. In a display of sportsmanship and camaraderie, Krieger comforted Rapinoe post-injury. "Obviously, so happy for her. So happy for her to be able to go out like this on an incredible career," Rapinoe acknowledged Krieger's successful final match, humorously adding that her injury "gave" Krieger the championship.
Addressing concerns about the condition of Snapdragon Stadium's field, Rapinoe dismissed any connection between the pitch and her injury. "I wish, right? No, I don't think so," she said, noting the unpredictable nature of such injuries. Her candid reaction to facing rehabilitation was both humorous and poignant. "I'm most upset that I'm now just a 'NARP', a normal-ass regular person having to do rehab, which is f---ing devastating," she expressed with her characteristic frankness.
Despite not clinching her first NWSL title, Rapinoe remained grateful for her career, which began with her national team debut in 2006.
"I feel so lucky and so grateful to have played as long as I've played and to have played with the incredible playersthat I've played [with]," she reflected.
She also hinted at her continued presence off the field, including a partnership with Nike.
I'm looking forward to retirement. I'm retiring on the field, but you'll definitely be seeing a lot of me off of it.- Megan Rapinoe
On the other side, Gotham, led by Midge Purce and Esther González, clinched their first NWSL title, with Purce earning the championship MVP title. The night was bittersweet, as the soccercommunity bid farewell to two of its most influential players. Rapinoe's career, punctuated by four World Cup appearances, two victories, and an Olympic gold medal, has been as remarkable for her athletic achievements as for her activism and outspokenness on social issues.
As the chapter closes on Megan Rapinoe's professional career, her legacy remains not just in the goals scored or the matches won, but in the indelible impact she has made on the world of soccer and beyond.