USWNT’s Megan Rapinoe ‘needs to take some time’ to think about future

United States women’s national team and OL Reign forward Megan Rapinoe told ESPN she doesn’t know what her playing future looks like and she will “need to take some time to think about it.”

Rapinoe, 36, was part of the U.S. squad that won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, and she will return to her club in the National Women’s Soccer League this week after a short break.

USWNT teammate Carli Lloyd, 39, announced on Monday that she would retire from the national team after four upcoming fall friendlies and from her club team NJ/NY Gotham FC at the end of the season.

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“Just in terms of my whole career, I don’t really know yet. I need to take some time to think about it,” Rapinoe said on ESPN’s Spain and Fitz show when asked whether she would be following Lloyd into retirement.

“They always say, ‘You’ll know when you know,’ but it’s not really like that, because you could kind of keep going, and it’s like ‘Aw yeah, you’ve accomplished so much, you’ll be fine stepping away.’ But the conversation is always anguished in your mind. Or people just don’t think about it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.”

Rapinoe has remained coy about what her future might hold, saying after the Olympics that she would have to discuss it with her partner, five-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time WNBA title winner Sue Bird.

Lloyd, on the other hand, had hinted at a possible retirement after the Olympics. She will bow out of the game as the second-most-capped player in world soccer history with 312 appearances.

During her career with the USWNT, she won two World Cups, two Olympic gold medals and scored 124 goals.

“I feel like people just think play as long as you can and that’s amazing — you want to play forever — but it’s actually like, no, it is really hard to do that,” Rapinoe said of Lloyd. “There are so few athletes who play to her age or play as long as she has. It’s not just about staying healthy and being able to physically be there, which is difficult in and of itself.

“It’s about continually growing and making sure your game is evolving. For me, it’s the fact she ended her career with an incredible brace in a medal match at the Olympics — just says it all. That’s the sort of person Carli was. As productive as ever.

“She has so many appearances, so many goals. So many memorable goals as well. It’s all good and well to score five goals against teams that don’t really matter, but I think Aaron Heifetz, our media relations guy, said that every medal match Carli played in she scored a goal. That’s greatness. She’s unbelievable. Showing up in the biggest moments, that’s what you want from your biggest players.”