Megan Rapinoe, the captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT), remained true to her prior stance during her farewell match with the national team. She chose not to sing the national anthem before the match against South Africa at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
Rapinoe’s decision to abstain from singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” dates back to 2016 when she began this form of protest against inequality and injustice in the United States. She cited Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the anthem as one of her inspirations.
Before the match, there was a ceremony to honor Rapinoe in recognition of her final international appearance. Surrounded by her family and fiancée, retired WNBA star Sue Bird, Rapinoe received a framed jersey representing her 203 games with the U.S. team.
During the game, Rapinoe showcased her skills by delivering a corner kick in the 49th minute that led to an Emily Sonnett goal, contributing to a 2-0 lead for the U.S. Afterward, she was substituted out of the match and walked off the field for the last time as a member of Team USA, sharing heartfelt embraces with her coaches and teammates.
Following the game, there was a video tribute to Rapinoe, during which she addressed the crowd, expressing her gratitude for the support she had received from her teammates, staff, and fans.
Megan Rapinoe’s illustrious soccer career has been marked by numerous achievements, including a gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012 and two World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. After a remarkable performance in the 2019 World Cup in France, where she scored six goals, Rapinoe received the Ballon d’Or Féminin and The Best Women’s FIFA Award.
Beyond her on-field accomplishments, Rapinoe is known for her advocacy on LGBTQ issues, including transgender rights. She also played a pivotal role in the USWNT’s fight for equal pay compared to the U.S. Men’s National Team, despite the latter’s lesser success in recent years.
In 2022, Rapinoe was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Joe Biden, becoming the first soccer player to receive the country’s highest civilian honor. While her international career with the USWNT has concluded, Rapinoe still has a few regular-season games left with OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League, including a send-off match for local fans in Seattle on October 6.