Soccer-Rapinoe brings the curtain down on her fabled international career

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Round of 16 - Sweden v United States - Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne, Australia - August 6, 2023 Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. during the match REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/File Photo

(Reuters) - Olympic champion and two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe took her final bow in international football after the U.S. beat South Africa 2-0 in a friendly on Sunday in the Soldier Field stadium in Chicago.

The relentless 38-year-old striker was crucial to both of her team's goals, providing the long pass to Alex Morgan that set up Trinity Rodman's goal and taking the corner that Emily Sonnett headed into the back of the net.

Rapinoe, who won the Golden Boot, Golden Ball, and Ballon d'Or for her role in the U.S. 2019 World Cup campaign, received a heartfelt farewell as she left the field in the 52nd minute to a standing ovation from the crowd, handed the captain's arm-band to Lindsey Horan and hugged her team-mates.

"It has been such an honour to be able to wear this shirt, play with all these players and live out my childhood dream," Rapinoe said at the end of the game.

With 203 caps and 63 goals for her national team, the veteran played in four World Cups, winning in 2015 and 2019, and helped the U.S. to claimed the Olympic gold at the 2012 London Games.

Her activism and off-field personality brought her to achieve household fame after supporting causes such as LGBT+ rights, speaking out against racism and standing up for equal pay in women's soccer.

Rapinoe is scheduled to play her last National Women's Soccer League regular-season game with OL Reign on Oct. 6 against Washington Spirit in Seattle.

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Michael Perry)

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