Megan Rapinoe was one of the stars of the U.S. women’s national team’s march to a World Cup title this summer. However, the midfielder will miss the rest of the team’s current tour, and possibly next summer’s Olympic Games, after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament during training camp.
The USWNT is in Hawaii, preparing for a friendly Sunday against Trinidad and Tobago at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Rapinoe, who also plays for the Seattle Reign of the NWSL, tore the ligament in her right knee Friday in a non-contact incident.
Rapinoe will return to Seattle to prepare for surgery, while the USWNT continues its 10-game tour, which began a month after the team defeated Japan in July to win its first World Cup since 1999. The end of that tour, a match versus China on Dec. 16 in New Orleans, is set to feature the final national team game for decorated forward Abby Wambach.
“I want to thank my teammates and the staff for the amazing support I’ve received so far,” said Rapinoe (via ussoccer.com). “I know I’ll be in the best of hands moving forward and I’ll be doing everything I can to get healthy as soon as possible. This is obviously a very difficult time, but I do feel super confident in my recovery as I’ve gone through this before and I know what the process will be like.
“I want everyone to know that I’ll be fine, and that I’m currently accepting any recommendations for TV shows to binge watch and great restaurants that deliver in Seattle. I’m also going to get really good at FIFA 16.”
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) December 5, 2015
The USWNT tour is also serving as a warmup for the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro. Rapinoe is almost certain to miss that tournament, which takes place Feb. 10-21 in Dallas and Houston, and she is in danger of not recovering in time for the Olympics.
The 30-tear-old midfielder was one of the best players for the USWNT during the World Cup, especially in the early going, when the team seemed to be playing tentatively. Rapinoe scored two goals in the opening game of that tournament, a 3-1 win over Australia, and her constant activity and dangerous crosses were key to the U.S.’s success.
According to a report by U.S. Soccer, Rapinoe has suffered two ACL tears before, both in her left knee while she was still at the University of Portland (Ore.). She has made 113 appearances with the USWNT and has scored 31 goals.
“All of our hearts feel for Megan and she’s certainly a major part of this team, both on and off the field, so to see her go down is tough” said U.S. Coach Jill Ellis. “Players getting injured is always hard, but all of her teammates know that one of the strengths of this team is depth and everyone in the player pool is prepared to step up as we continue to prepare for Olympic qualifying. Megan has a great support system and she’s very resilient, so we know she will be back as soon as possible.”