Sights and sounds from Megan Rapinoe’s farewell — Must-click women’s soccer links

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, Oct. 9, 2023

SEATTLE — I’ve written a lot about Megan Rapinoe over the course of my career, going back to 2005 when the Portland Pilots won the NCAA title. Like, countless stories. About everything from her spat with Donald Trump, to her sister Rachael’s CBD company, to the face that she was the first person I knew that actually wore those Balenciaga shoes that looked like socks — I mean, before that, I only had the Cardi B reference to go on.

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(Editor’s note: apologies for the delay on the production side.)

I was kind of bummed I didn’t go to Chicago for her last national team game. But, the sports scheduling gods worked in my favor this past weekend — no college football games in Oregon — so I was able to go to the Reign’s sendoff match.

The first thing that struck me was the crowd. There were 34K-plus on hand for the match. I know that Pinoe is beloved in these parts, but I can’t imagine that 10 years ago we’d see that many people come out for a women’s soccer match.

Afterward, Reign coach Laura Harvey said the next goal is to get as many fans to matches ALL THE TIME. I agree. Not there yet, but it’s definitely building.

I was also struck by just the love for Rapinoe that was on display. Lauren Holiday was there, as was Ashlynn Harris and Merritt Mathias. Also in attendance was NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman, who BTW had not comment about the leaked NWSL media deal which may or may not be true. The league is expected to formally announce its media rights deal prior to the championship game.

Look, Megan Rapinoe isn’t going anywhere. Like her partner Sue Bird, she’s going to continue to be involved in the women’s game and a whole host of other issues that are important to her.

But I am kind of sad that it was the last time I will see her play in person. I’ve admired her creativity and skill and aggressiveness and — just all of it. Pinoe’s Olympico at the Tokyo Games was the first, and only, one I’ve seen. Just isolating her and watching her alone was an amazing lesson in soccer.

So yeah, I cried a little bit. I’m am totally emotional all the time, so me crying at a sporting event is not all that unusual. But her departure from the game is really the end of an era for me.

One funny moment: i was standing on the field and letting it all sink in and then suddenly I realized Sue Bird was standing right next to me. Yes, I still kind of geek out around celebrities. Would have said hello to her but I literally couldn’t speak.

Here are some random photos I took!

One last thing: The NWSL’s playoffs are still uncertain heading into Decision Day. The Portland Thorns and the San Diego Wave are the only two teams that have clinched spots. The Chicago Red Stars and the Kansas City Current are the only two teams that have been eliminated. There’s no Shield winner yet. So Sunday is going to be chaos!

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My AP story from Rapinoe’s farewell game.

Meg Linehan sat down with Sue Bird while she was in Seattle.

Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly return to Portland to play for the first time since revealing Paul Riley, from Just Women’s Sports.

Wanna fix NWSL’s refereeing? More investment is needed, writes Jeff Kassouf for ESPN

Japan wins the Asian Games.

Eight new players to watch in the WSL this season

Washington’s women’s soccer team is inspired by Rapinoe.

Caitlin Murray looks at the USWNT without a coach and momentum heading into the Olympics.

As the WSL gains popularity, security risks also rise, from Kate Whyatt for The Athletic.

Nice story on the pioneering Manchester Corinthians

Five at The IX: Reign OGs

Below are the postgame interviews with Reign OGs Rapinoe, Jess Fishlock and Lu Barnes, as well as Laura Harvey. It was especially touching to hea how Rapinoe’s authenticity helped Harvey find her own.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Annie Peterson