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‘None of that happens without the Reign’: Megan Rapinoe’s emotional goodbye

Photos: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY & Jane Gershovich-OL Reign.

‘None of that happens without the Reign’: Megan Rapinoe’s emotional goodbye

Megan Rapinoe is driving home from training in suburban Seattle. It’s a drive she knows well after 10-plus years of playing for the Reign franchise, despite several changes in training location. Rapinoe has always indulged in self-reflection, but faced with the reality that these drives will be coming to an end soon, introspection has kicked into full gear.

“The biggest, shiniest moments of my career may not have happened in the Reign jersey, but they don’t happen without me playing here,” Megan Rapinoe tells The Equalizer on the phone, as she navigates Interstate-5.

On Friday, Rapinoe will play her final regular-season home game in Seattle in front of what could be a record crowd for the National Women’s Soccer League. Many people know Rapinoe because of her U.S. women’s national team career, but spending the entirety of her NWSL career with the Reign has had the biggest impact on her career, she says.

“It’s so funny because when people think of me I’m sure they think of the national team more and being one of the sort of main characters on a team that’s been successful for so long,” Rapinoe said. “Both on and off the field sort, of ushering in a new era of women’s sports, and the different way to talk about it, and think about the things we fought for, and certainly my play on the field, but it’s like: none of that happens without me playing for the Reign.”

Rapinoe joined the Reign halfway through the NWSL’s inaugural season in 2013 after finishing the European season with French giants Olympique Lyonnais. Every single one of those years in Seattle (and Tukwila and Tacoma, as the Reign franchise navigated regular changes) has been played with fellow original team members Jess Fishlock and Lauren Barnes. Laura Harvey was the team’s first coach and, after a couple of years away, she returned in 2021 and is still the coach today.

There is no telling Megan Rapinoe’s story without Fishlock, Barnes, Harvey and their collective, decade-long relationship with the Reign. Over 10 years of tactical conversations, leaping celebrations, arguing with refs and “the circus,” as they call it, one of those original members is stepping away.

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