The US women’s national team is once again the reigning World Cup champion and will enter this year’s tournament with the goal of defending their title.
American women have dominated the sport’s biggest tournament, winning the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup titles. On Saturday, Rapinoe revealed her plans to retire from professional soccer once the 2023 National League season ends. of Women’s Soccer.
On Wednesday, Rapinoe suggested that the timing of her retirement will benefit Team USA when the World Cup begins later this month. He noted that his decision to announce his plans to step away from the game soon put an end to potential questions in the tournament about his retirement.
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«Obviously I’m 38 years old, I’m not going to play forever and it always feels weird for me to have something figured out and feel at peace and not answer a question honestly,» Rapinoe said. «I kind of wanted to have that to myself.»
Now that she doesn’t have to worry about answering questions about how much longer she’ll play, Rapinoe said the entire team can «focus a lot more.»
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«I think it allows me to focus a lot more, it allows the team to focus a lot more. We don’t have to get questions every time, every game. It’s just out there and I can really enjoy it and focus on trying to win the tournament.»
Rapinoe is already a two-time World Cup winner and is seeking her third title. This year’s World Cup will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Rapinoe said she hopes to inspire young New Zealand girls to play soccer.
«I think especially those of us who have been here for a long time, it certainly wasn’t the case at all the World Cups we’ve been a part of in our entire career,» he said. «I think we can really see and feel the game grow and the world change around us.
«I know what it meant to me to be able to see Mia Hamm up close or see Brandi Chastain up close when I was younger, so I hope it’s an inspiration to them, but I think it’s an inspiration to us as well.»
Rapinoe praised the training facilities Team USA has experienced since arriving in Auckland, saying the cold and wet weather was not a concern.
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«I’m from Seattle, so I literally feel at home,» he said. «I don’t care too much. It would be one thing if we were in the tundra, but it’s pretty warm, so maybe a long sleeve, but I don’t even know if we’ll have to break the gloves.» I honestly would rather have this than blistering heat. I just tend to melt and I don’t do very well in the heat.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.