World record holder for international goals, highest all-time goal scorer for the U.S. national team
"Abby Wambach is an American retired soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion. A six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award, Wambach was a regular on the U.S. women's national soccer team from 2003 to 2015, earning her first cap in 2001. As a forward, she currently stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the national team and holds the world record for international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals. Wambach was awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first American woman to win the award in ten years. She was included on the 2015 Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world.
Wambach competed in four FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments: 2003 in the United States, 2007 in China, 2011 in Germany, and 2015 in Canada, being champion of the last edition; and two Olympics tournaments: 2004 in Athens and 2012 in London, winning the gold medal on both. All together, she played in 29 matches and scored 22 goals at these five international tournaments. She played college soccer for the Florida Gators women's soccer team and helped the team win its first NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship. She played at the professional level for Washington Freedom, magicJack, and the Western New York Flash.
Known for scoring goals with diving headers, a technique she began honing as a youth in her hometown of Rochester, New York, one of her most notable header goals occurred in the 122nd minute of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinal match against Brazil. Wambach scored the equalizer in stoppage time helping the Americans to eventually progress to the championship final against Japan after defeating Brazil in penalty kicks. Her last-minute goal set a new record for latest goal ever scored in a match and was awarded ESPN's 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play of the Year. Following her performance at the 2011 World Cup, she was awarded the tournament's Bronze Boot and Silver Ball. In 2011, she became the first ever soccer player of either gender to be named Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.
Wambach announced her retirement on October 27, 2015. Her last game was played on December 16 in New Orleans when the United States played its last match of its 10-game Victory Tour following its win at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Her autobiography, Forward, released in September 2016, became a New York Times best seller…
Wambach is a six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Federation's U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award (2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013). In 2002, she received the WUSA's Rookie of the Year award for her performance during the 2001 WUSA season. During the three years that she played for the Washington Freedom and magicJack in the WPS, she was named WPS Player of the Week a record seven times.
In 2011, Wambach was awarded the Bronze Boot and Silver Ball at the FIFA Women's World Cup. She was also awarded the 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play for her 122nd-minute equalizing goal against Brazil during the quarterfinal. The same year, she was named the Women's Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year and received the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, the first individual soccer player ever – man or woman – to receive the award. In July 2011, the mayor of Rochester, New York named July 20 "Abby Wambach Day" and she was given a key to the city. In August 2012, after returning home from winning gold at the Summer Olympics in London, the city of Rochester honored Wambach by hosting a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony in which the entrance to Sahlen's Stadium was named "Wambach Way.”
Wambach was named the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the fourth woman ever, and the first American since Mia Hamm 10 years earlier, to win the award. Wambach received 20.67 percent of the votes from national team coaches and captains as well as select media over teammate Alex Morgan (13.5) and five-time winner Marta (10.87). During her acceptance speech, she thanked FIFA and President Blatter, her family, coaching and medical staff, and teammates and said, "... winning any individual award is a total product of the team that you play for. I've never scored a goal without receiving a pass from somebody else. Thanks to all the fans out there who continue to inspire me and the rest of the team to win as many games as we can." Wambach was also a finalist for the award in 2011 and 2013.
Following the United States' win at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, Wambach and her teammates became the first women's sports team to be honored with a Ticker Tape Parade in New York City. Each player received a key to the city from Mayor Bill de Blasio. In October of the same year, the team was honored by President Barack Obama at the White House.
In 2015, Wambach was named to the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. The following year, she received the 2016 ESPY Icon Award." (1)