“It is with a deep sense of peace & gratitude that I have decided this will be my final season playing this beautiful game,” Rapinoe, 38, tweeted on July 8 alongside a throwback photo of herself as a kid. “I never could have imagined the ways in which soccer would shape & change my life forever, but by the look on this little girl’s face, she knew all along.”
Rapinoe has played for the USWNT since 2006, helping lead the team to Olympic gold in 2012 and World Cup victory in 2015 and 2019. Her latest World Cup appearance marks her and her teammates’ first cup since the USWNT settled their equal pay lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, which oversees both the women’s and men’s teams.
In May 2022, U.S. Soccer guaranteed that both national teams will receive the same pay when competing in international matches and competitions. The teams will also pool unequal prize money payments that U.S. Soccer receives from FIFA, the governing body that oversees international soccer and the World Cup. That prize money will be shared equally among members of both the women’s and men’s teams.
“No other country has ever done this,” U.S. Soccer president, Cindy Cone, said at the time. “I think everyone should be really proud of what we’ve accomplished here. It really, truly, is historic.”
Ahead of their first game against Vietnam on Friday, July 21, scroll down to meet all nine returning members of the U.S. team’s World Cup roster: