|Birth Day:||June 2, 1980|
|Birth Place:||Rochester, United States|
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She was a three-time All-American while playing college soccer for the University of Florida.
Wambach was a three-year captain for the Rochester Spirit club team and named All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year in 1995 and 1997. She was a member of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) U-16 National Team in 1996, the 1997 National U-20 Player Pool, and trained and played with the U.S. women's national soccer team while competing in the 1997 U.S. Soccer Festival in Blaine, Minnesota. In 1997, she traveled to Beijing, China, as a member of the first American youth soccer team to ever compete there. University of Florida Gators, 1998–2001 Considered the top college recruit in 1997, Wambach was intensely sought after by numerous colleges, including top soccer programs such as the University of North Carolina, UCLA, the University of Portland, and the University of Virginia. After sticking with her commitment to her parents to visit five schools, Wambach accepted a full athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she played for coach Becky Burleigh's Florida Gators women's soccer team from 1998 to 2001. Florida's program had only been in existence for three years; however, the challenge of joining a less established team over a team like North Carolina with a long history of championship titles appealed to Wambach. As a freshman in 1998, Wambach helped lead the Gators to their first NCAA national championship over the 15-time champion North Carolina Tar Heels. The team also won four consecutive Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships from 1998 to 2001.
Wambach attended Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester from 1994 to 1998, where she lettered in soccer and basketball. During her high school career, she scored 142 goals, including 34 in 1997 alone. Mercy's soccer coach, Kathy Boughton, recalled that Wambach often stayed after practice to practice diving headers – a skill that later became her signature as an international player. Following her senior season, Wambach was named to Parade Magazine's High School All-America Team. She was also voted national high school player of the year by Umbro and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). In 1997, she was named NSCAA Regional Player of the Year, NSCAA State of New York Player of the Year, Gatorade Circle of Champions New York Player of the Year, and cited by USA Today as one of the nation's top 10 recruits.
Individually, she was the SEC Freshman of the Year (1998), a freshman All-American (1998), a first-team All-SEC selection for four straight seasons (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001), a two-time SEC Player of the Year (2000, 2001), twice received SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors (2000, 2001), and was named a first-team All-American her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons in 1999, 2000 and 2001. In addition to leading the Gators to the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Tournament as a senior in 2001, Wambach set school career records for goals (96), assists (50), points (242), game-winning goals (24), and hat tricks (10). Over ten years later, she remains the Florida Gators' all-time leading scorer with ninety-six goals. Wambach was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2012.
In 2001, Wambach's WUSA and collegiate performance earned her a spot at the national team training camp. Her first cap for the United States women's national soccer team occurred on September 9, 2001 during a match against Germany at the Nike U.S. Cup in Chicago. She subbed in for Tiffeny Milbrett in the 76th minute. The U.S. squad won 4–1. She scored her first international goal on April 27, 2002 during a friendly match against Finland in San Jose, California after subbing in for Christie Welsh in the 75th minute. The U.S. won 3–0.
In 2002, Wambach was selected second during the first round of the 2002 WUSA Draft by the Washington Freedom for the second season of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA). After tying with the Carolina Courage for last place during the previous season, the Freedom hoped to turn things around in 2002. With Mia Hamm out for the first half of the season for knee surgery and recovery, the Freedom found themselves in sixth place. After Hamm's return, the team finished the remainder of the season 9–1–2, finishing third with a berth into the playoffs. Of the team's turnaround, Wambach noted, "Early on in the season it was difficult to get everyone on the same page. Mia was out, we had just started playing with the Chinese players, Steffi hadn't come yet. There were so many factors that went into us not playing as well. Since people have returned, and we have been able to grasp what exactly one another was doing out there, it's been easier to get results." During the semi-finals, the Freedom upset the Philadelphia Charge 1–0. During the final against the Carolina Courage, the Freedom lost in front of 12,000 spectators at Herndon Stadium in Atlanta. Wambach assisted on Hamm's 64th-minute goal, the team's second goal, after the Courage's Danielle Fotopoulos scored an own goal in the 31st minute; however, it was not enough to equalize Carolina's three goals. After leading all first-year players in the league in scoring, Wambach was named WUSA Rookie of the Year in 2002. She was Washington's leading scorer with ten goals and ten assists and finished tied for fourth for scoring in the WUSA.
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.
During the 2003 season, Wambach tied with Freedom teammate, Mia Hamm for the league's scoring lead with 33 points. Her contributions in Washington helped to propel the Freedom to a victory in the Founders Cup III, where Wambach was named the MVP. During the seventh minute of regulation time, she scored the second-fastest goal in Founders Cup history after she headed the ball into the lower left side of the net past Beat goalkeeper and national team teammate, Brianna Scurry. She scored the game-winning goal in the sixth minute of overtime off a cross from Jenny Meier, leading the Freedom to defeat the Atlanta Beat 2–1 during the championship match.
In August 2003, Wambach was named to the U.S. roster by Coach April Heinrichs for her first World Cup tournament. Having played in just six international matches, with three starts, before the 2003 World Cup, Wambach led the United States squad in scoring with three goals at the tournament.
Before a stadium filled with over 34,144 spectators at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C., Wambach made the starting line-up in the Americans' first match of the tournament against Sweden on September 21, 2003. The U.S. defeated Sweden 3–1 with goals scored by Kristine Lilly, Cindy Parlow, and Shannon Boxx. During the squad's second tournament match against Nigeria in Philadelphia in front of 31,553 spectators, Wambach scored in the 65th minute to bring the U.S. lead to 4–0. The U.S. would ultimately defeat Nigeria 5–0. She scored her third tournament goal during the squad's third Group stage match against North Korea on a penalty kick in the 17th minute. The U.S. defeated North Korea 3–0 after two additional goals from Cat Whitehill in the 48th and 66th minutes launching the team to the knock-out stage.
After the WUSA suspended operations in 2003, Wambach trained with the national team in preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. During the U.S.'s first two matches in Athens, she played a direct role in four of the five goals that the team scored resulting in wins over Greece and Brazil. During the team's first group stage match against Greece on August 11, 2004, Wambach scored during the 30th minute to elevate the Americans to a 2–0 lead. She received her first yellow card of the tournament in the 49th minute. Mia Hamm followed with a goal in the 82nd minute for a final score of 3–0.
Five days before the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, the first World Cup that Wambach would play in, the WUSA folded citing financial difficulties and a lack of sponsorship. In summer 2005 she played for Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) club Ajax America Women, alongside USWNT teammate Shannon Boxx. She scored five goals and served three assists in three appearances.
The team faced Sweden in their next match on September 14, 2007. Wambach scored two goals and notched up her record to 80 goals in 98 international matches after scoring in the 34th minute on a penalty kick and again in the 58th minute on a left-footed half-volley from a cross from Kristine Lilly. The U.S. finished group play with their 1–0 defeat over Nigeria women's national football team on September 18. Wambach provided the assist with a header off a long thrown-in to Lori Chalupny who settled it off her chest and chipped the ball past Nigeria's goalkeeper. The win launched the U.S. to the quarterfinals.
During the quarterfinal match against England on September 22, 2007, Wambach scored the first goal for the Americans during the 48th minute, followed by two goals scored by teammates Shannon Boxx and Kristine Lilly, defeating England 3–0. All three goals were scored within 12 minutes. During the first half, with the match poised at 0–0, English captain Faye White required extensive treatment following an elbow in the face from Wambach. Although Wambach insisted the contact was accidental, the English players and media thought otherwise. Wambach became the twentieth player in U.S. women's national soccer team history (thirtieth American soccer player overall) to earn 100 international caps.
In 2008, a new professional league was announced for women in the United States: Women's Professional Soccer (WPS). During the 2008 WPS Player Allocation in which twenty-one players from the United States national team player pool were assigned to the seven teams in the new league, Wambach was assigned to the Washington Freedom. She was voted WPS Player of the Week for the week of April 26 (Week 5) after scoring two goals in the Washington Freedom's 4–3 victory over the FC Gold Pride, the Freedom's first victory in the new league. During the Freedom's next game on May 3, 2009, she received a yellow card for a tackle on St. Louis Athletica midfielder Daniela that left Daniela with two damaged knee ligaments and a crack in the tibia and sidelined her for the rest of the season. Wambach was suspended for one game after the challenge was reviewed by the league commissioner.
On June 23, 2008, Wambach was named to the U.S. squad for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. On July 16, during a nationally televised exhibition match against Brazil, she broke her left leg during a collision with Brazilian defender, Andréia Rosa, preventing her from playing at the Games.
Wambach scored her 100th goal during a friendly match against Canada in her hometown of Rochester on July 19, 2009, her second international match after returning from her injury. Of the goal, she said, "After this year I've had, the heartbreak of not going to the Olympics, all of that pain is worth it. There's nothing more you can ask for than play in front of your home crowd and come through with a milestone like I did today." She reached 100 goals in fewer games than any of the four other American players who had previously reached 100 goals: Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and Tiffeny Milbrett.
Wambach has signed endorsement deals with Gatorade, Nike, MVP Healthcare, and Panasonic. In 2010, she starred in a Dodge commercial with some of her national team teammates. She signed a one-year endorsement deal with Bank of America in July 2011. The same year, she appeared in commercials for magicJack phone service and ESPN SportsCenter. In 2012, she received a gold card from Chipotle Mexican Grill which entitles her to one free burrito daily for life. Although not a formal endorsement deal, Chipotle offers the cards to well-known professional athletes who publicly express a liking for the restaurant. In the summer of 2013, she signed an endorsement deal with the New York Apple Association and was featured in television, radio, print and online ads. In 2015, Wambach starred in a commercial for LED lighting company Cree.
In 2011, the Freedom relocated to Boca Raton, Florida and became the magicJack under new ownership. On July 22, 2011, Wambach was named the player-coach for the magicJack for the rest of the 2011 WPS season. She was named WPS Player of the Week for the seventh time in August 2011.
On October 26, 2011, the Women's Professional Soccer League Governors voted to terminate the magicJack franchise. The league suspended operations in early 2012.
After defeating Germany in overtime during the semi-final, the U.S. faced Brazil for a second time in the Olympic final. Wambach's 10-yard header in the 112th minute off a corner kick from Kristine Lilly gave the U.S. a 2–1 victory and the gold medal win. Her last-minute goal was hailed as one of the five biggest goals in U.S. women's national team history by ESPN in 2011. Wambach finished the tournament with four goals and one assist. Her four goals set a new record for goals scored by a single U.S. player at an Olympic Tournament. The Olympic win also marked the start of significant changes for the national team as it was the final competitive international match for veteran players Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett and Julie Foudy, who had played with the team since the first Women's World Cup in 1991. On the significance of the win, Wambach said, "It's the least we can do for the women who have meant so much to us." At the end of 2004, Wambach had scored 31 goals and 13 assists in 30 matches for the national team. She finished fourth in voting for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year.
On May 9, 2011, the U.S. roster for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup tournament in Germany was announced, including Wambach. The 2011 Women's World Cup was the third World Cup tournament in which she played. After playing without scoring a goal in the first two group stage matches against North Korea and Colombia, Wambach scored in the 67th minute during the team's final group stage match – a 2–1 loss to Sweden. With the loss, the U.S. finished second in their group and went on to face the first place team from Group D Brazil in the quarterfinal.
On July 10, 2011, during the Americans' quarter-final game against Brazil, Wambach scored a header goal in stoppage time after the 120th minute (120th+two minutes of injury time) to even the score at 2–2 against the Brazilians. The U.S. went on to win the game on penalty kicks and advanced to the semi-final. Wambach's goal set a new record for latest goal ever scored in a FIFA competition. Her last-minute goal was awarded ESPN's 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play of the Year. Wambach scored her third tournament goal during the Americans' 3–1 semi-final win over France.
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. She played in two Olympics tournaments: 2004 in Athens and 2012 in London. All together, she played in 30 matches and scored 22 goals at these five global tournaments. Along with her U.S. teammates, Wambach won two Olympic gold medals, finished third twice at the Women's World Cup, finished second at the 2011 World Cup, and won the 2015 Women's World Cup.
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.
Wambach has done philanthropic work for the Epilepsy Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She has participated in Mia Hamm's annual Celebrity Soccer Challenge which raises money for Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation. In August 2011, Wambach joined teammates Alex Morgan and Hope Solo in a Bank of America charitable campaign at the Chicago Marathon. $5,000 was donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Association on her behalf. In 2013, she became an ambassador for Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization that focuses on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports.
In 2012, a new professional women's soccer league was announced in the U.S. that featured allocated players from the American, Mexican, and Canadian national teams. On January 11, 2013, Wambach was allocated to the National Women's Soccer League club, Western New York Flash, in her hometown of Rochester, New York, as part of the NWSL Player Allocation. After missing the preseason because of national team commitments, she made her debut on April 14, 2013 during the team's season opener against Sky Blue FC.
Wambach scored the first goal for the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London during the team's first group stage match against France on July 25, 2012. Down 2–0 after 14 minutes into the first half, Wambach headed the ball into the back of the net off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe in the 19th minute. By the 30-minute mark, the Americans had tied the game with another goal from Alex Morgan. With another goal from Alex Morgan and one from Carli Lloyd during the second half, the U.S. defeated France 4–2.
In her international career, Wambach scored 184 goals in 255 international matches. Up until January 29, 2020, Wambach was the highest all-time international goal scorer for men and women, until surpassed by Canadian National Team Captain Christine Sinclair. Wambach (27 goals) and Alex Morgan (28 goals) combined for 55 goals in 2012 – equaling a 21-year-old record set in 1991 by Michelle Akers (39 goals) and Carin Jennings (16 goals) as the most goals scored by any duo in U.S. women's national team history.
Wambach appeared in the HBO film, Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team. She has made appearances on the Today Show, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Good Morning America. She was featured on ESPN's In the Game with Robin Roberts in June 2012.
Wambach posed nude in The Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine in 2012. Of the experience, she said, "Bodies come in all different shapes. Bodies come in all different sizes. My body is very different than most other females. [...] I want to show people that no matter who you are, no matter what shape you are, that's still beautiful."
Wambach scored five goals at the 2012 Olympics and scored in every match except the final. In recognition of her accomplishments, she was awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, at the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich, on January 7, 2013.
Wambach was previously married to soccer player Sarah Huffman from 2013 to 2016. Following their wedding in Hawaii in October 2013, Wambach stated that her marriage was not a political statement and did not represent a coming out, because she had never been closeted: "I can't speak for other people, but for me, I feel like gone are the days that you need to come out of a closet. I never felt like I was in a closet. I never did. I always felt comfortable with who I am and the decisions I made." In September 2016, Wambach announced that she and Huffman were divorcing. Two months later, Wambach confirmed she was in a relationship with author and her future wife, Glennon Doyle. In February 2017, they announced their engagement. On May 14, 2017, the couple married.
In 2013, Wambach's biography was the focus of a one-hour ESPN documentary, Abby Head On. The same year, she appeared in the ESPN documentary series, Nine for IX. The Nine for IX documentary, The 99ers, in which Wambach appeared focused on the success and legacy of the national team squad that won the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Wambach announced on March 18, 2015, that she was sitting out the entire 2015 NWSL season in order to focus on the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Two weeks later, on March 30, 2015, Wambach's playing rights were traded along with midfielder Amber Brooks and a first-round pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft to Seattle Reign FC in exchange for forwards Sydney Leroux and Amanda Frisbie.
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
Beginning in December 2015, Wambach came out against men's coach Jürgen Klinsmann and dual national players playing for the United States men's national soccer team. "The way that he has brought in a bunch of these foreign guys is not something I believe in wholeheartedly. I don't believe in it. I don't believe in it in my heart." A couple members of the men's national team rebuked her for the criticism. Mix Diskerud, who was born in Norway to an American mother, was perhaps the most vocal in suggesting she "think about who you try to disenfranchise." She reaffirmed her criticism during an interview released in October 2016, stating, "It's just my opinion, and I'm entitled to that. It feels a little bit odd to me that you have some guys that have never lived in the United States that play for the United States because they were able to secure a passport. To me, that just feels like they weren't able to make it for their country and earn a living, so they're coming here."
In April 2015, Wambach joined Alex Morgan on American Idol to announce that the show's season winner would record the official song for Fox's coverage of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. In May of the same year, her likeness appeared on The Simpsons along with Alex Morgan and Christen Press. In December 2015, she starred in a commercial for Gatorade entitled "Forget Me".
Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in April 2015. The following month, she was featured on the cover of ESPN Magazine with teammates Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan. The same year, she appeared on multiple covers of Sports Illustrated. Out Magazine named Wambach Athlete of the Year in November 2015.
Wambach was featured along with her national teammates in the EA Sports' FIFA video game series starting in FIFA 16, the first time women players were included in the game. In September 2015, she was ranked by EA Sports as the No. 3 women's player in the game. In February 2016, Mattel unveiled a Barbie doll in her likeness.
Wambach was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) after being pulled over by Portland police on April 2, 2016 to which she pleaded guilty. Following the incident, automaker MINI pulled a commercial featuring Wambach. In September 2016, Wambach wrote in a newly released autobiography that she had abused prescription drugs and alcohol for many years and had been sober since her April arrest.
Currently, Abby Wambach is 43 years, 0 months and 4 days old. Abby Wambach will celebrate 44th birthday on a Sunday 2nd of June 2024.
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