US women's football icon Megan Rapinoe limped out of the final game of her storied career Saturday, suffering a suspected torn Achilles tendon less than three minutes into the National Women's Soccer League Final which her OL Reign team lost to NJ/NY Gotham FC.
No other players were near Rapinoe when she went down on the pitch, a stunned crowd at Snapdragon Stadium holding their breath as medical staff attended her.
After several minutes, the dejected OL Reign star limped off the field, fans giving her a massive ovation as she was replaced by Bethany Balcer.
The 38-year-old American had vowed the match was "really the last one," in a career that included World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019 and gold at the 2012 London Olympics.
Despite her many achievements, Saturday's defeat means Rapinoe retires from the game without an NWSL championship title.
"It was a tough one. Definitely not how I envisioned this last one going," a tearful Rapinoe said after the game. "I am pretty sure I tore my Achilles.
"Just thank you to everyone who's been on the journey for all this time. It's been amazing, maybe besides this, I couldn't have written it any different," she added.
Celebrated for her off-field activism as well as her success on the pitch, Rapinoe announced earlier this year it would be her final season.
"I am just super proud of my whole career and really thankful for all that it's given me and for how long I've been able to play," she said.
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