The National Women’s Soccer League has finalized plans for a nine-team tournament in Utah starting June 27th, and we already know it will not include one of the game’s biggest stars. OL Reign left winger Megan Rapinoe will not take part, according to her coach Farid Benstiti.
“Too bad. I understand her motivations but I am disappointed and frustrated that she is not with us to compete in this tournament. Megan is important to the group and we could have accomplished something important with the club, if she had joined the rest of the group. She will be greatly missed by the team but also by women’s football.”
Rapinoe remains one of the best players in the world, but as All For XI writer Kim McCauley noted, she’s reaching a point in her professional career where load management is going to be critical to extending it.
Asked Pinoe and OL Reign for comment on this, but I'm not surprised. Pinoe's probably at a point where she has to be very careful with training/load management to extend her career. Accelerated preseason + 7 games in a month really doesn't make sense for her. https://t.co/BrKc6U2N9y— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) June 4, 2020
She came back from that World Cup hurt, ended the season with 0 goals 0 assists for the Reign. She wasn't helping them any. I think it's better for both her and the team's 2021 for her to take a break. https://t.co/MDoiGOuRH3— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) June 4, 2020
Rapinoe won’t be the only player sitting out, but thus far she’s the most high profile. Tournament odds have been starting to open at sportsbooks over the past week, and William Hill installed the Reign at +600. They opened with the fourth best odds, behind North Carolina (+160), Chicago (+300), and Portland (+500).
It is unclear if the OL Reign odds baked in Rapinoe skipping, as it was never entirely clear if she would play. But don’t be surprised to see at least a slight adjustment with the reigning Ballon d’Or winner skipping the tournament.