Abby Wambach, arguably more so than Alex Morgan and Hope Solo, has been the face of U.S. Women’s soccer for the past eight-plus years now. Her headers have become world famous, and she is the all-time leading international scorer for either men or women, with 183 goals to her name. Per USA Today, Abby, 35, announced that the 2015 Women’s World Cup would be her last with the American squad, though she did not definitively rule out another Olympics run, which saw the U.S. capture gold in Athens in 2004, and again in London in 2012.
“When I am on the field it is definitely all about business but this being my last World Cup I do want to stop and smell the roses at certain moments. For me that’s what makes these tournament so awesome is that every continual game the stakes get higher, the pressure gets steeper.
Whether you want to look at it as stress or pressure, however you want to put it, for me these are the moments of my life that I treasure.”
2015 marks Wambach’s fourth World Cup (2003, 2007, 2011), though Team USA has not won the tournament since 1999. The U.S. lost a heartbreaker to Japan in 2011 after a 2-2 draw that ended in a 3-1 penalty shootout.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, there have been calls for Abby to come off the bench for the entirety of the 2015 tournament due to her recent lack of production, as well as to allow younger players the opportunity to contribute.
Wambach noted that ending her international career after the current Women’s World Cup is the right move for her.
“I want to not only be able to share it with the fans and the millions of people watching and my teammates and my coaching staff, but the people who have been on my side and by my side to get me here. It hasn’t always been easy. We sacrifice a lot. We are on the road for a lot of days of the year – it doesn’t make it easy on any relationship whether it be a marriage or families or whatever.
We do live in a fixed period of time as a professional and our careers are very short. You always have to be very mindful of the fact that it could be over tomorrow.”
Abby has competed in 245 matches and counting for Team USA, and in the past has played for the Washington Freedom, magicJack, and the Western New York Flash in various women’s professional leagues. She did not play professionally in 2015 in order to prepare for the 2015 World Cup after her rights were acquired by Seattle Reign FC of the National Women’s Soccer League, per Seattle PI.
Below are some of Abby’s career highlights, including the goal that made her the all-time international leading scorer.
The American side takes on Columbia today in the Round of 16 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1, though the match may be threatened by severe thunderstorms, according to AccuWeather.
Do you think Abby is more or less being pushed out do to her advancing age, or is she choosing to leave on her own terms? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]