USA forward Megan Rapinoe, one of the most successful players of her generation, said she will retire at the end of the season.
The 2019 Ballon d’Or winner made the announcement days before she left for her fourth Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“I want to do it my own way,” the 38-year-old said.
“I feel very grateful that I am here and that I have confidence in this team and that my body has stayed long.”
Two-time World Cup winner Rapinoe will retire at the end of her club side OL Reign’s NWSL campaign, with the regular season ending in October and the play-off final on 11 November.
He made the announcement ahead of the USA’s friendly against Wales on Sunday.
“It is with a deep sense of peace and gratitude and excitement that I want to share with you that this is my last season, my last World Cup and my last season in the NWSL,” he said.
“I never imagined where this beautiful game would take me.
“I feel very honored to have represented this country and this federation for so many years, it’s really the greatest thing I’ve ever done and something I’m very grateful for.”
In 2019, Rapinoe was named the Best Fifa Women’s Player and won the World Cup golden boot and golden ball to go along with her Ballon d’Or.
He has been capped 199 times and scored 63 goals for the USA since his debut in a friendly against the Republic of Ireland in 2006.
He also won an Olympic gold medal in London 2012.
Rapinoe could add to her accomplishments this summer, as she is part of a USA team that is looking to make history by winning a third consecutive World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Her career began in 2002 playing for the Elk Grove Pride in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
She had spells in Australia and France before joining Seattle Reign, now known as OL Reign, winning three NWSL Shields and a Women’s Cup.
USA head coach Vlatko Andonovski called her “one of the most important players in the history of women’s soccer and a personality like no other”.
Rapinoe’s achievements on the field are mirrored in this – she is one of the most influential voices in the sport.
He publicly came out as gay in 2012 and spoke out about racism, sexism and homophobia, as well as being a leading voice in the campaign for equal pay for women’s groups in the USA.
In 2016, she became the first white athlete and first woman to kneel during the national anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
Bowing to The Bay
Rapinoe is set to win her 200th cap in Sunday’s game against Wales at PayPal Park in her hometown of San Jose, California.
“It feels so special, it feels perfect,” he said.
“I had like 40 people come for the game, it’s the closest I’ll ever get to playing in Redding in my career.
“It means a lot to be able to do this in the Bay, it feels like a second home.
“I grew up playing here and playing all over the place. This is where crazy little Megan started so it feels right to say I’m going to end it here.”