As the record NWSL crowd bids Raginoe farewell, athletes honor him.

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Oct. 6( Reuters )- Megan Rapinoe was hero-struck by a 34,130-person National Women’s Soccer League( NWSL ) record crowd on Friday in Seattle, where she played her final regular-season home game against the Washington Spirit.

The Seattle Seahawks’ home stadium, Lumen Field, bid farewell to the twice World Cup champion who helped shape OL Reign’s identity from the start and spent her entire 11-season NWSL career with the team.

Simply put, it feels like home. Rapinoe, 38, remarked about her time in Seattle,” It was always the safest place.”

Simply put, I could always be myself here.

Before a video tribute featuring sports legends like Seattle baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. and tennis trailblazer Billie Jean King was played in the stadium, Rapinoe’s teammates entered the field wearing number 15 warmup shirts in her honor.

The 2019 Ballon d’Or winner and Olympic champion said in on-field remarks following the game,” I’m a little bit at the loss for words.”

It’s just really special to be able to have this, to play here for the entirety of my career in one city.

Rapinoe had already made a statement about her international career when she wore the American crest against South Africa for the final time last month.

The Americans’ fourth and final World Cup campaign came to a disastrous end this year when they finished in the Round of 16 and gave their worst-ever performance at the international showcase.

As Washington goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury blocked Rapinoe’s two excellent attempts in the 50th and 61st minutes, the draw on Friday was not what OL Reign had hoped for.

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In the 89th minute, Spirit midfielder Dorian Bailey’s shot from outside the box was blocked by OL Reign keeper Claudia Dickey. Trinity Rodman, a member of the Rapinoe national team, made two stoppage attempts as well.

To cheers from the crowd, including her five-time Olympic basketball gold medalist fiancé Sue Bird, Rapinoe was hugged by players from both sides as she left the field.

Rapinoe remarked,” It’s been such an incredible journey.” ” Thank you to all of you.”

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