Rapinoe: My retirement will help the USWNT focus on the World Cup

Rapinoe: My retirement will help the USWNT focus on the World Cup

APJuly 12, 2023 at 08:53 a.m. ET4 minutes to read

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Kay Murray shows off the midfielders and strikers for the US Women’s National Team at the 2023 World Cup, including Megan Rapinoe, Sophia Smith and Julie Ertz.

Megan Rapinoe said her decision to announce her retirement before the Women’s World Cup will help the United States focus better on their bid to win a third world title.

The 38-year-old forward, who will retire at the end of the 2023 National Women’s Super League season, said on Wednesday that speculation about her playing future could have been a constant story for her and the USWNT this summer.

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“Obviously, I’m 38 years old, I’m not going to play forever, and it’s always weird to have something stable and feel at peace and not answer a question honestly,” Rapinoe said. “I kind of wanted to have that for myself.

“I think it allows me to focus more, it allows the team to focus more. We don’t have to answer questions every time, every game. It’s just kind of playing and I can really enjoy it and focus on trying to win the championship.”

Rapinoe said she wants to add to the two Women’s World Cup titles this summer but also wants to inspire young New Zealand women to play soccer.

“I think especially those that have been around for a long time, it’s not like all the World Cups where we’ve been a part of our entire career,” Rapinoe said.

“I think we can really see and feel the game growing and changing the world around us.

“I know what it means for me to be able to see Mia Hamm up close or see Brandi Chastain up close when I was younger — so I hope it inspires them, but I also think it inspires us as well.”

Megan Rapinoe will retire from professional soccer after the 2023 NWSL season.Fiona Goodall – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Rapinoe praised the training facilities the U.S. team has experienced since arriving in Oakland, and said the cold, wet weather wasn’t a concern.

For her hair, Rapinoe said she brought a range of color to New Zealand and fans can expect regular changes.

The USWNT begins their campaign for their third consecutive title, and fifth overall, against Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22 before taking on the Netherlands and Portugal in the World Cup, co-hosted by Australia.

Striker Alex Morgan said that arriving in the host country for the World Cup sparks a mixture of “nerves, anticipation and excitement” and that while there are many similarities with previous editions, this one “will be his best yet.”

“We’ve got 32 teams in the World Cup like never before, so the competition is going to be intense, and it’s going to be the most watched World Cup,” Morgan said.

Information from Reuters contributed to this story.

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