The American Megan Rapinoe, a figure in women's football, quickly emerged injured from the last match of her career, the final of the United States championship lost by her team OL Reign against NJ/NY Gotham (2-1) , for a bitter end Saturday in San Diego.
Sitting on the pitch, her head in her jersey and tears in her eyes from the start of the match, Megan Rapinoe had certainly not imagined the final match of her career, which she could have ended by lifting her first cup. of United States champion in California, the state in which she grew up.
But on a slip that seemed harmless, the 38-year-old attacker injured herself, apparently to her right ankle. Rapinoe limped out in the 6th minute to a standing ovation from the San Diego (California) public and embraced by NY/NJ Gotham FC captain Ali Krieger, another figure in US football who played her last match on Saturday.
A few hours earlier, Rapinoe had appeared at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego in style, dyed pink hair, sunglasses and a denim jacket, holding a speaker that played a classic of American hip-hop, "x gon' give it to ya” by rapper DMX.
A sound released in 2002, the year the striker from Redding began her career in Elk Grove, in the suburbs of Sacramento.
Twenty-one years later, Rapinoe leaves the field with two World Cups (2015 and 2019), a Ballon d'Or (2019), an Olympic gold medal (2012) and a status that goes beyond her sport.
The companion of ex-basketball star Sue Bird used her success as a platform for LGBT rights, against police violence against black people in the United States, and obtained equal pay with her teammates between men and women within Team USA.
Saturday, with the retirements of Rapinoe (38 years old, 203 caps and 63 goals) and Ali Krieger (39 years old, 108 caps), American women's football experienced the end of an era, with players who knew how to put their sport, minor in the United States, at the forefront. The NWSL, the American women's championship, is reaping the benefits and from next year will multiply its television revenues by 40 (240 million dollars over four years) and broadcast four times as many matches.
After the exit of the pink-haired star, Seattle's OL Reign quickly suffered a second blow by conceding a goal from Williams (24th), before responding in the 29th when Rose Valelle won a face-to-face face against the guardian of Gotham.
The New Jersey players regained the advantage definitively with a header from Esther's corner (45 1), just after an OL goal was refused for offside.
The end of the match saw a few crazy minutes with the expulsion of Gotham goalkeeper Mandy Haugt for a handball outside her area, offering a last well-placed free kick to OL Reign, but poorly taken, so that defender Nealy Martin had put on the gloves.