Abby Wambach Biography

Abby Wambach, an American retired soccer player, is a true legend in the world of sports. With an impressive career filled with achievements and accomplishments, Wambach’s talent continues to leave us in awe. As a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, she has proven herself to be an exceptional player. Holding the record for the highest all-time goal scorer for the US National women’s team and the world record for second-highest international goals, Wambach’s goal-scoring ability is unmatched. Her trademark style of scoring goals with diving headers has been admired throughout her career. One of her most notable goals was scored in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal, earning her the Bronze Boot and Silver Ball. With her physical prowess, excellent positional sense, and outstanding work ethics, Wambach is undeniably one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Mary Abigail Wambach
  • Age: 43 Years, 43 Year Old Females
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Glennon Doyle Melton (m. 2017), Sarah Huffman (m. 2013–2016)
  • Born Country: United States
  • Football Players
  • American Women
  • Height: 5’11” (180 cm), 5’11” Females
  • U.S. State: New Yorkers
  • City: Rochester, New York

Childhood & Early Life

Abby Wambach was born Mary Abigail Wambach on June 2, 1980 in Rochester, New York, to Pete and Judy Wambach. She is the youngest of seven siblings. Wambach’s love for soccer started as early as when she was four. Interestingly, it was her elder sister who first decided to play the sport. Inspired by her, she too took to playing the sport.

From 1994 to 1998, she attended Our Lady of Mercy High School. While at school, her game improved exceptionally. She scored 142 goals in her high school career. It was during this time that Wambach extensively practiced diving headers, a skill that later became her signature style as an international player. Her phenomenal records helped her become the top-rated high school player.

She became the captain of the Rochester Spirit club team. Additionally, she was also the member of the Olympic Development Program’s (ODP) U-16 National Team and National U-20 Player Pool. She even trained and played with the U.S. women’s national soccer team. She also became a part of the first American youth soccer team to compete in Beijing, China.

Labelled as the top college recruit, it was only natural for Wambach to become intensely sought after by top universities of the country. After much consideration, she finally accepted a full athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville from 1998 to 2001.

In her freshman year, Abby Wambach led her team, Florida Gators, to their first NCAA national championship over the 15-time champions, North Carolina Tar Heels. With her in the team, Florida Gators clutched many titles and championships. She also helped set school career records for goals, assists, points, game-winning goals, and hat tricks. For a decade, she was the leading scorer with 96 goals.

Career

Abby Wambach’s exceptional talent and skill earned her a spot in the national team training camp in 2001. Her first ever match was against Germany at Nike US Cup in Chicago. Her team won the match 4-1. Later, in a match against Finland in San Jose, Wambach scored her maiden international goal, helping her team win the match 3-0.

Meanwhile, her club career started in 2002 when she was selected by Washington Freedom for the second season of Women’s United Soccer Association. She became the leading scorer with ten goals and was named WUSA Rookie of the Year.

In the 2003 season, Wambach helped Washington Freedom win the Founders Cup III. In the final match against Atlanta Beat, she not only scored the second-fastest goal in the history of Founders Cup, but also scored the winning goal to finish the game 2-1.

The year 2003 marked the beginning of Wambach’s international career as she was named to the US roster for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup team. At FIFA 2003, Wambach’s performance was at par with her previous record. She played outstandingly well, scoring three goals in the tournament, the highest in the US squad.

Post FIFA 2003, she started training with the national team for the 2004 Summer Olympics. Abby Wambach played a crucial role in all the matches. In the final against Brazil, it was her last minute 10-yard header off a corner kick that gave US a 2-1 victory. It was later reckoned as one of the five biggest goals in U.S. women’s national team history.

Wambach’s four goals at the 2004 Summer Olympics set a new record by a single US player at an Olympic event. She finished the year with a record 31 international goals and 13 assists in 30 matches for the national team. She finished fourth for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.

At the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Abby Wambach scored a goal each against North Korea, Sweden, Nigeria, and England. They lost to Brazil in the semi-final, finishing the tournament at the third spot after a win against Norway. During the championship, Wambach scored six goals in six matches. She became the 20th player in U.S. women’s national soccer team history to earn 100 international caps.

Despite being named to the 2008 Summer Olympics, which was held in Beijing, China, Wambach couldn’t be a part of the event due to an injury in the left leg. Being a leading scorer for the team and just one shy of 100 international goals, the injury came in as a blow for Wambach.

However, spirited as she was, she lifted the morale of the team who went on to win gold at the tournament.

Personal Life & Legacy

Abby Wambach married her long-time girlfriend Sarah Huffman in Hawaii in October 2013. Three years later, in September 2016, the duo announced their divorce. In November 2016, Wambach stated that she was in a relationship with author Glennon Doyle. They recited the marital vows in May 2017.

Abby Wambach is an active philanthropist who has raised money for the Epilepsy Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Along with her teammates, she took part in the Bank of America charitable campaign at the Chicago Marathon. She even served as an ambassador for Athlete Ally.

Awards & Achievements

Abby Wambach’s career was outstandingly brilliant throughout. In her international career, she scored 184 goals in 255 international matches to become the leading all-time international scorer for men and women, a record which was overhauled by Christine Sinclair.

She was conferred with the US Soccer Federation’s US Soccer Athlete of the Year Award six times (2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2013). In 2011, Wambach received the prestigious Bronze Boot and Silver Ball at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The same year, she was also awarded the ESPY Award for Best Play for her 122nd-minute equalizing goal against Brazil.

She received gold medals at the 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics in Athens and London respectively. In 2012, she was bestowed with the FIFA World Player of the Year award, becoming the first American to win the award in a decade.

The US’s victory at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup helped Wambach and her team become the first women’s sports team to be honored with a Ticker Tape Parade in New York City. The team was also honored by President Barack Obama at the White House.

She was named in the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world in 2015.

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