Megan Rapinoe will not be joining the National Women's Soccer League when it meets for the league's 25-game Challenge Cup in Utah in July, according to her new coach in Seattle, Farid Benstiti of OL Reign. The coach discussed the soccer star's decision in an interview with "Le Progres," a French site.
Translated by The Telegraph, Benstiti said:
"It's a shame. I understand her [Megan's] reasons but I am disappointed and frustrated that she is not going to be with us for the tournament. Megan is an important member of the squad and if she was with the rest of the team, [I feel] we would be able to accomplish something big as a club. She will be greatly missed by the team and also women's football."
Benstiti did not expand on why she is choosing to opt out.
Players from the U.S. women's national team can choose not to participate in the tournament, the players' union representing the USWNT said in a statement.
The tournament starts June 27 on CBS in Utah without fans present. The NWSL expects to be the first pro sports league in the U.S. to return following shutdowns and pauses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Players from all nine teams will take part, training and living in Salt Lake City-area hotels.
To help ensure player safety, all will be tested for COVID-19 before heading to Utah and will be screened on a regular basis following their arrival and throughout the month.