U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe thanked her fans and her teammates as she reflected on her acclaimed career in a farewell speech in Chicago.
The match against South Africa ended with a 2-0 victory for the U.S., marking a triumphant conclusion to Rapinoe's illustrious career.
Rapinoe expressed her deep gratitude to the supporters, describing it as an "honor to wear this shirt and play out my childhood dream." She acknowledged the team's tremendous efforts and successes both on and off the field, emphasizing their collective struggle for equality and social justice.
You can hear what she said in the video below.
Megan Rapinoe's Farewell Speech | September 24, 2023youtu.be
“We have fought so hard on the field, had so much fun, been so successful. We fought so hard off the field to continue to create more space for ourselves to be who we are, but hopefully in turn more space for you guys to be who you are.” ...
“It says a lot about us that everything on the field I feel pales in comparison to what we’ve achieved off the field."
"But I think even in the years prior to that, being so vocal about racial justice and gay rights and just feeling like the team really stepped into a new era of itself and took upon itself to be so much more than what we were on the field.”
Rapinoe expressed her gratitude to fans for celebrating her and the team for their outspokenness on such issues as racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and equal pay for women:
“Just the reaction that I got, whether that was people coming up to me and saying how much that meant to them or gave them space to come out, I think I realized right then, as the popularity of the team started to grow, that people came to see us not just for what we were doing on the field, but they came to see themselves in us."
"So how could we use that? How could we use the growing platform to fight for ourselves, but also to fight for other people?” ...
“It’s a really beautiful thing to look out and see little Black girls and little trans kids and boys with our jerseys on. I think that’s something that all of us are really proud of and all of us – especially in our generation – know the impact that we’ve made. And we know that it’s a lot different now than when we started.”
Many praised Rapinoe after footage of her speech went viral.
During her remarkable 17-year career with the team, Rapinoe made 203 appearances and scored 63 goals. Beyond her achievements on the pitch, she emerged as a symbol of the women's team's fight for equal pay and gender equity, as well as a passionate advocate for various social causes.
Rapinoe has also made headlines for condemning GOP-led legislatures for attempting to legislate transgender people out of public life and especially school sports.
She has called such bills "monstrous" and stressed that “sports is not the most important thing in life” because “life is the most important thing in life." She suggested that individuals who are “afraid someone’s going to have an unfair advantage over their kid” should “take a step back and get a grip."