Rapinoe returns to US national team after nearly a year

Full Screen
1 / 2

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

FILE - In this July 7, 2019 file photo, United States' Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Women's World Cup final soccer match against The Netherlands at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France. Rapinoe has returned to the U.S. national team after sitting out most of last year following the SheBelieves Cup tournament, joining the squad for its January training camp in Florida. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

It was quite a year for Megan Rapinoe. Her book came out, she hosted an HBO special and she got engaged to girlfriend Sue Bird.

One thing was largely missing, however: soccer.

That's changing now that Rapinoe has returned to the U.S. national team for its January training camp in Florida after sitting out most of last year.

“I actually feel really good physically and just refreshed in a lot of ways, mentally and emotionally. I’ve spent obviously a lot of time quarantining at home with Sue and just being able to relax,” Rapinoe said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. “But I’m obviously so excited to start playing again. It was really difficult to not be out on the field with my teammates and to not have a consistent training environment. Anyone who really knows me knows I hate to work out on my own as it is.”

When the coronavirus began to take hold in the United States last March and the National Women's Soccer League called off its season, Rapinoe — who plays for OL Reign — hunkered down at home.

She opted out of the NWSL's Challenge Cup tournament in a bubble in Utah last summer and the league's fall series. She also opted out of the national team's October camp.

She said part of her reasoning for the break was fear of COVID-19, but she was also exhausted from the whirlwind that came after the U.S. victory in the World Cup in France. Rapinoe earned FIFA Best Player and Ballon d'Or honors following her play in soccer's premier tournament.

The last time Rapinoe played for the national team was on March 11, when she scored in a 3-1 SheBelieves Cup victory over Japan.