Megan Rapinoe, who announced Saturday that she plans to retire from professional football later this year, has risen to stardom in part for her outspoken political views and leadership in her sport off the field. But a lot of that was possible because her career on the field had so many iconic moments.
She is expected to soon reach 200 caps for the United States women’s national team. She has 63 goals in her international career and is one of only seven American women to have more than 50 goals and 50 assists in international competition.
She was the second pick of the 2009 draft of the dissolved Women’s Professional Soccer League, and played most of her playing career with the Seattle Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League. She won a French title with Lyon, the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, and two-color Olympic medals.
But it was always the moments and creativity in her attack, not the amount of goals or assists, that really set Rapinoe apart. Here’s a look at some of her best touches.
World Cup 2011
The U.S. women’s national team finished third at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, and failed to build on their winning momentum in 1999. In 2011, they were facing a modest early exit when they trailed Brazil, 2-1 in overtime, during the quarter-final game period. .
The game was already in injury time when Rapinoe got the ball from Carli Lloyd near midfield. She took one dribble, looked up and sent a long ball towards the far post, where Abe Wambach was waiting for her.
Wambach jumped behind the Brazil goalkeeper and headed the ball into the net for what was considered a shot One of the greatest goals in the history of the women’s game. The Americans went on to win the shootout, though they later lost an epic final to Japan.
The United States faced Canada in the semi-finals of women’s soccer at the London 2012 Olympics. Down 1-0 in the second half, Rapinoe made Olympic history by scoring what is known as an “Olympico” – a goal kicked straight into the net from a corner kick. She was the first woman to do so at the Games. She then repeated this feat during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
World Cup 2015
In the first match of the 2015 World Cup, the confrontation with Australia, Rapinoe scored two goals to lead her team to a 3-1 victory. In the 12th minute, after fighting for a contested ball, Rapinoe made a full 360-degree spin at the top of the box before collecting herself with a couple touches and firing a 20-yard shot. the ball apostate From a Canadian defender and found the net.
World Cup 2019
The United States entered the 2019 World Cup in France looking to become the first women’s team to repeat as a World Cup champion. Rapinoe combined her career – winning both the Golden Boot for most goals (six) and the Golden Ball as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. But it was her goal against France in front of 45,000 spectators that sent her on her way.
An expert set piece, Rapinoe stepped up to take a free kick in the opening minutes of what many predicted would be a tense and pivotal match. sent a ball line Through the box he made his way through the legs of several teammates and defenders and into the back of the net. Rapinoe celebrated by running to the sideline and spreading her arms wide, a gesture that became her signature celebration and enduring memory of the tournament as she was regularly in the right place at the right time.
Tokyo Olympics 2021
Chasing two straight World Cup victories, the US women’s national team headed to Tokyo in 2021 to play in the Olympics that have been delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the quarterfinals, the USA and the Netherlands were knocked out in a World Cup rematch. The match went to penalties after a 2-2 draw where it was Rapinoe dagger in the upper right corner That sent the United States to the semi-finals.