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The 2023 Women’s World Cup will quite literally be the largest in women’s soccer history as 32 teams will battle it out for glory for the first time ever. The USWNT are the favorites of the tournament as they look to become the first three-peat champions of the event, and if they do accomplish that feat, Megan Rapinoe deserves both credit and praise for her recent retirement announcement.A
At least that’s what the 38-year-old wants you to think.
Rapinoe seems to think that both she and her teammates would have been bombarded with questions throughout the month-long tournament about her potentially calling it quits, which wouldn’t have allowed her or the U.S. squad to focus.
“I think it allows me to focus a lot more, allows the team to focus a lot more. We don’t have to get questions every time, every single game. It’s just kind of out there and I can just really enjoy it and focus on trying to win the tournament,” Rapinoe said.
Megan Rapinoe Is All About Megan Rapinoe
Reality, which Rapinoe isn’t living in, is that she’s one of the oldest women in the entire tournament and on a USWNT filled with much more electric, less controversial younger talent.
While U.S. soccer fans will tip their cap to her for her efforts on the field, a minute percentage of the World Cup’s focus will actually be on Rapinoe for the next four weeks.
While the retirement announcement is in the rearview, Rapinoe is making sure she goes out as loudly as possible.
The timing of her announcement being just 12 days before the opening match of the Women’s World Cup certainly wasn’t by accident. Rapinoe wants the farewell tour of all farewell tours, which would be fine if she was focused solely on soccer, but instead, she’s pushing her radically progressive beliefs.
Rapinoe is ironically creating her own distraction outside of her tight-knit locker room that’s mostly filled with like-minded teammates, and doing so by not hiding behind her naive and narcissistic approach.
Megan Rapinoe’s Radical Messaging Is A Move For Her Future
Earlier this week, shortly before the USWNT departed for the World Cup, Rapinoe made it clear that she does not care about the future of women’s soccer or women’s sports as a whole. She’d love to see a transgender athlete (biological man) join the USWNT.
“Absolutely,’ Rapinoe told Time when asked if she’d welcome a biological man onto the women’s national team.
“You’re taking a ‘real’ woman’s place,’ that’s the part of the argument that’s still extremely transphobic. I see trans women as real women. What you’re saying automatically in the argument—you’re sort of telling on yourself already—is you don’t believe these people are women. Therefore, they’re taking the other spot. I don’t feel that way.”
Rapinoe has long been the face of the LGBTQ community in women’s sports in America and turned her radically liberal beliefs into a lucrative career both on and off the field.
Her retirement announcement – and her reminding the world of it – shows that Rapinoe sees the writing on the wall.
Rapinoe’s constant shouting about women’s rights while simultaneously saying men should compete against women is the quickest and easiest way for her to make sure she stays somewhat relevant when she steps away from the game.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris