Polarizing U.S. women’s soccer captain Megan Rapinoe said Tuesday that she might not return to the field.
The forward told ESPN “she doesn’t know what her playing future looks like and she will ‘need to take some time to think about it,’” the report said.
“Just in terms of my whole career, I don’t really know yet. I need to take some time to think about it,” Rapinoe told ESPN’s Spain and Fitz show, when asked about calling it quits.
“They always say, ‘You’ll know when you know,’ but it’s not really like that, because you could kind of keep going, and it’s like ‘Aw yeah, you’ve accomplished so much, you’ll be fine stepping away,’” the 36-year-old elaborated. “But the conversation is always anguished in your mind. Or people just don’t think about it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.”
Soon after Team USA’s disappointing bronze finish at the Tokyo Olympics, standout Carli Lloyd announced she’d be retiring from the national team. Lloyd, however, is finishing out the season with her club team.
Rapinoe, too, is continuing to play on her club team before she makes any decisions regarding further play.
“I feel like people just think: play as long as you can, and that’s amazing — you want to play forever — but it’s actually like, no, it is really hard to do that,” Rapinoe said of Lloyd. “There are so few athletes who play to her age or play as long as she has. It’s not just about staying healthy and being able to physically be there, which is difficult in and of itself.”
“It’s about continually growing and making sure your game is evolving. For me, it’s the fact she ended her career with an incredible brace in a medal match at the Olympics — just says it all. That’s the sort of person Carli was,” she continued. “As productive as ever.”
“She has so many appearances, so many goals. So many memorable goals as well. It’s all good and well to score five goals against teams that don’t really matter, but I think Aaron Heifetz, our media relations guy, said that every medal match Carli played in she scored a goal. That’s greatness,” Rapinoe praised her teammate. “She’s unbelievable. Showing up in the biggest moments, that’s what you want from your biggest players.”
Notably, Rapinoe has become increasingly political on and off the soccer field, often kneeling during the anthem and wearing Black Lives Matter apparel.
She also apparently bullied players into kneeling before games in solidarity with left-wing causes, according to former U.S. women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo.
“I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way,” Solo said, The Daily Wire reported.
“But it’s our right as Americans to do it whatever way we’re comfortable with and I think that’s really hard being on the main stage right now with so many political issues for athletes,” the GK said. “There’s a lot of pressure and ultimately at the end of the day our number one focus should and has always been to win first.”