The athlete, who has been criticized by conservatives in the past over her vocal left-leaning views, is set to play with the OL Reign soccer team against the Portland Thorns, with their match taking place near the University of Portland, where Rapinoe is an alumna. She started playing for the school’s soccer team in 2005, with the team moving on to an undefeated national championship that season.
“I think the greatest compliment that I and we could give her as the Thorns is to kick her ass when she comes to Providence Park,” said Thorns defender Meghan Klingenberg. “Pinoe’s a great friend and she’s an excellent person, and I love what she’s done for the sport. She’s totally changed the sport and the way that the sport is talked about and has made it clear that she’s going to use her voice and stand up for things that other people won’t stand up for. She’s brave, she’s loud, she’s hilarious.”
Saturday’s game comes toward the end of Rapinoe’s sports career, with her final game set for Sept. 24. In her time as a soccer player, she became the 14th American to reach 200 games played for the United States.
Rapinoe’s retirement comes after the United States was eliminated from the FIFA Women’s World Cup earlier this year, in which she missed a penalty kick in her team’s game against Sweden. In her first statement released following the defeat, Rapinoe stated that she was proud of every member of her team, describing it as “so very special.”
“It has been my honor to play for our country, with so many incredible woman, for so many years,” Rapinoe said. “Thank you, a million times over.”
Among the criticism she has faced from conservatives is her support of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. Rapinoe stated in July she would “absolutely” support and welcome transgender athletes to the U.S. women’s national team, even if it meant replacing a spot held by a biological woman.
Rapinoe has also been criticized for kneeling during the U.S. national anthem, though doing so earned her the praise of President Joe Biden, who claimed the activist represents “the best of what America stands for.”