After scoring 184 international goals and playing in 252 games, Abby Wambach has decided to end her 15-year career from the great game of soccer and thinking about this devastates me. I have grown up watching this phenomenal player for as long as I can remember. My first piece of USA gear was a navy blue t-shirt that read Wambach across the back, and what I didn’t realize is I would grow up realizing she is someone to idolize and aspire to be like.
I was lucky enough to travel to Rochester, New York, a five-hour trip to see my favorite player in her hometown. Pia Sundhage, the former Women’s head coach, said something that was very humbling, which included the idea that Abby was not only a role model for women’s soccer, but also a role model for women and soccer. Abby has taught girls that you can do whatever you set your mind to, and you can always be yourself. She has been U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year six times, that is more than any other player, and those accolades are quite fitting for her.
Her head has been a vital part to some of her successes in the in the sport, like her game winner goal against Brazil in the Olympic final in overtime. She always came through when her team needed her and her unselfishness on the field whether she was starting or coming off the bench, set such a high standards for those all across the country.
Although I wish it was more, I was lucky enough to watch Abby live twice, and even though I wish that number were higher, I will never forget the impact she had on soccer over the years. One of my goals that I will always have is to meet Abby and extend my gratitude for how much she has contributed to my love of the game. I loved looking at a starting lineup and seeing her name because I knew she would always make something happen. I know her work with the sport is far from over I can only hope one day I get the chance to actually meet her, and not only know her from interviews on ESPN, twitter news feed, or instagram posts.
Abby will never really be forgotten and the records in which she holds and the legacy she has created will be a story to read about in books. The young girls that once looked up to Abby will be telling the stories of her great goals and positive attitude to their young players or children as new women futbollers enter the great game. In the end all I can really say is thank you Abby because what you have done for the game is indescribable and I will miss watching you on the pitch.