There were no other players near Megan Rapinoe as she went down injured at San Diego’s Snapdragon StadiumMegan Rapinoe suffered a painful end to her football career as the American star had to leave the pitch just three minutes into her farewell game.
The two-time World Cup winner, 38, said the National Women’s Soccer League final between OL Reign and NJ/NY Gotham FC was “really the last one”.
But a suspected torn Achilles tendon brought a premature end to her night.
“It was a tough one. It’s definitely not how I envisioned this last one going,” said a tearful Rapinoe.
“Thank you to everyone who’s been on the journey for all this time. It’s been amazing – maybe besides this. I couldn’t have written it any different.”
Gotham won the game 2-1, meaning that although Rapinoe helped USA secure two World Cups and an Olympic gold, she ends her career without an NWSL title – having spent 11 seasons with the Seattle-based Reign.
The 2019 Ballon d’Or winner announced in July, right before playing in her fourth World Cup, that she would retire at the end of the NWSL season.
USA were knocked out by Sweden in the round of 16 and Rapinoe ended her international career with a friendly win over South Africa in Chicago in September.
Rapinoe made her USA debut in 2006 and won 203 caps, scoring 63 goals, while winning the World Cup in 2015 and 2019 as well as the 2012 Olympics.
“I am just super proud of my whole career and really thankful for all that it’s given me and for how long I’ve been able to play,” she said.
“Even though it was a tough night, it was still amazing and I’m so thankful to be here and again, so proud of our group.”
Rapinoe also played for four US teams before the NWSL was founded in 2012, and had spells abroad with Sydney FC and Lyon, helping the latter win the French league in 2013.
Rapinoe was hugged by opponent Ali Krieger as she left the field in San Diego