**Related video above: The former Akron soccer star represented the men’s World Cup last fall. **
CHICAGO (Associated Press) — U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup winner, has decided to use her platform to shine a spotlight on social issues. Ready to retire after an illustrious career that never hesitated.
Rapinoe, 38, announced on Saturday that she will officially retire with OL Reign at the end of the National Women’s Soccer League season, which will end after the fourth World Cup later this month.
she announced on twittershe said, “I could never have imagined that football would shape and change my life forever.”
“With deep peace and gratitude, I have decided that this will be my last season playing this beautiful game,” Rapinoe said.
Rapinoe and the U.S. team will be chasing a third straight title in time for the Women’s World Cup, which kicks off July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.
The USA will face Wales in a final warm-up Sunday in San Jose, Calif., before departing for the World Cup.
“I’ve had a great career. This game has taken me around the world and met so many amazing people,” said Rapinoe. said in a news release. “To be in my last World Cup and my last NWSL season and be able to do what I want is incredibly special.”
At the 2019 World Cup in France, Rapinoe scored six goals during the tournament, including a penalty goal in their 2-0 defeat of the Netherlands in the final. She also had three assists and won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball for the best overall player. Rapinoe also won the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award (the game’s highest individual honor) for her 2019 play.
Rapinoe is tied with Abby Wambach for third-leading assists on the U.S. Women’s National Team and one of only seven players in team history to have 50 or more career goals and career assists. She played for the US senior team for the first time in 2006.
Rapinoe played his entire 11-year NWSL career for the reign. She scored 48 goals, the sixth-highest in league history.
President Joe Biden, an outspoken advocate for equal pay in women’s football and an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, last year awarded Rapinoe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.
According to US Soccer, Rapinoe became the first white player and the first woman to kneel during the national anthem in solidarity with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
She plans to marry women’s basketball icon Sue Bird.
“She has created many memorable moments that will be remembered for a long time by her team and the fans on the field, but what she does as a person is what she gives to people,” said US Women’s Coach Vlatko Andonovski. The impact could be even more significant.” at the release.