Author Topic: Abby Wambach  (Read 3022 times)

Online David

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Abby Wambach
« on: February 09, 2007, 10:15:14 AM »
Goal.com Interview: Abby Wambach, U.S. Forward & Right To Play Athlete Ambassador

Abby Wambach has become the dominant scorer for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She has come to realize, however, there is more to life than what happens on the pitch.

Although Abby Wambach led the U.S. Women’s National Team in scoring for 2006 with seventeen goals and eight assists, not everything has come easy for the former Florida Gator. 

Wambach left college in 2001 as UF’s leading career in five categories, including goals (96) and assists (49), and embarked on her professional career in the WUSA with the Washington Freedom. Partnering with legend Mia Hamm, Wambach notched 10 goals and was named the WUSA’s rookie of the year.

However, the following spring, 2003, brought her toughest professional moments. 

She started out the World Cup year sitting home, left off the Algarve Cup roster by then-head coach April Heinrichs. Wambach, suffering from a lack of confidence and not being fully fit, saw the turning point in late April when she was left off the squad for a friendly at her club’s home stadium in Washington D.C. 

Instead of dwelling on the slight, Wambach followed the path of the likes of Michael Jordan and used the setback as motivation, rebounding into form and fitness. She tied for the WUSA lead in points and was named to the World Cup roster, scoring against USA’s arch-rivals Norway.

Since USA ’03, and the subsequent folding of the WUSA, Wambach has had time to pursue other interests off the field. Chief among her passions is helping children, a pursuit she plans to have in her life long after she hangs up her boots.

Goal.com’s Pat Walsh caught up with Abby Wambach recently to talk with the striker about her involvement with international humanitarian organization Right To Play; how that connection has changed her; and where she sees the future of women’s professional soccer in America.

Goal.com: How did you become involved with Right To Play?

Wambach: Brandi Chastain brought a box of shirts and hats into the National Team locker room one day and kind of gave me the rundown of the main points of what Right To Play was and how she got involved. They had contacted my agency, Octagon, to see if there were any athletes that would be interested in going to Africa to go to refugee camps or these sites they have in the infected areas of Africa; also to see what their organization was all about; and finally to be an athlete ambassador for the United States for women’s soccer. It was a special idea and a special time and has worked out great.


Goal.com: Have you made any trips with the organization?

Wambach: I went to Right To Play programs in Africa and saw Rwanda and Uganda and had one of my most life-changing experiences. Since then I’ve been super involved going to fundraisers and trying to set up ideas having clinics for people, because the primary idea for Right To Play is you need funding. [There are] people who work and try to teach the Right To Play fundamentals in over twenty countries. The organization and the people that work for the organization are amazing. The way that their mission statement and the way they organize and go through their ordinary day are life-changing and it’s something I’m really proud to be a part of. 


Goal.com: How do you feel football fits in with the “Sport for Development” aspect of Right to Play?

Wambach: You look at the children and the people they’ve been teaching and trying to instill these fundamental aspects into about living and life, and all they’ve seen is civil war and the way they deal with conflict is fighting. I think Right To Play is great because it uses football and it simplifies the game; and it uses the ball and it simplifies arguing and debating so it's not a war. Right To Play makes it a game and makes it easier for the kids to understand you don’t have to fight to be right. And they do that really well and I’m pretty proud of them actually.


Goal.com: You’ve described yourself as a “goofball.” Does that personality help you relate to the kids?

Wambach: Yeah. You have to check your ego at the door whenever you do any sort of charity work because you can’t be looking down upon human beings. That’s not why you involve yourself with charities or with people that need help. Everyone needs help. When I went Africa, I gained so much personally and individually. It has nothing to do with me feeling better about myself and feeling sorry about people who have very little. In fact, what they showed me was what I have is meaningless. It’s the love you need to have for your friends and family, and I think being a goofball I am a lot more apt to deal with the situation. These kids are so amazing. They don’t speak English but there’s so much you can get on with due to body language and just being yourself. Kids obviously take to a goofball who will just fall on the floor and make a fool of herself just to get the attention of a poor kid who hasn’t laughed in a week because they’ve been starving or they’ve been sick. That’s something that’s very important that I took away: laughter is a key ingredient of a happy life.


Goal.com: You said that Brandi Chastain was your first contact with Right To Play. Have you taken on that role and tried to involve other members of the U.S. Women’s National Team?

Wambach: Definitely. I wear Right To Play stuff all the time. I try to promote their cause as much as I possibly can. I’m just one person. I’m a female professional athlete. Is there as much exposure as if it was a male professional athlete in a more popular sport in America? No. But I do try to let the girls on the team know this is what I’m into right now. This is what I’m passionate about. My legs won’t last forever. I’ll only be able to play for a certain number of years and I want something I can fall back on. I need something to do after I retire and I will be fortunate if that involves helping children.


Goal.com: Those teammates you talk of were just in China competing in the Four Nations tournament. Is it tough for you to sit home while they play?

Wambach: You know, Greg told three or four of us we would have the option of taking this China trip off. As everybody knows we’re going to be spending quite a bit of time hopefully (knocking on wood) in China for about a month or so in September at the World Cup. We’ll have a pretty rigorous schedule from the time we start until the end of September, so he gave some of us some time off. Obviously we all have to do the same thing with the team, but some of us have to do more outside the team with appearances, photo shoots, and commercial shoots. I physically needed some time to let my ankle heal. But yeah, it’s super difficult because this is the first trip I’ve missed. I’m e-mailing all the girls and seeing how they’re doing. I’m the youngest of seven kids so I always hated being left out things. I do have a little bit of a sore taste in my mouth. But I think it’s going to help me, and by virtue the team, by getting healthy mentally and physically for September.


Goal.com: The last World Cup, in 2003, coincided with the end of the WUSA. Is there a chance this year’s World Cup could coincide with a new women’s professional soccer league in the United States?

Wambach: I think it’s looking pretty good that in 2008 we potentially could have a re-launch. This obviously has to be related and correlated with who will sign on. We have some really good people heading the way. It’s called the Women’s Sports Initiative, Inc. They’ve developed business plans and they went out and found investors. And I think in the next couple of months we’re going to be hearing something about something like the WUSA coming back in the next few years to come. We’re hoping. I know for me I wouldn’t have been on the National Team if the WUSA wasn’t around. Same with Shannon Boxx. She and I were only seen because of the WUSA so we have a special place in our hearts for the WUSA, or for another league like it, just to keep the game moving forward. As much as the pioneers helped the game to get to where it is, they were never able to achieve a long-existing league. And that’s something I want to be able to do so that when I retire I can say I was able to do something great, too, just like the pioneers did by getting this whole thing started.


http://www.goal.com/en-us/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=224394

Online David

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2007, 10:01:01 AM »
Wambach a prolific soccer striker

Abby Wambach welcomes the biggest challenges.

Team her with the greatest scorer in soccer history? Bring it on.

Ask her to take a leadership role on a team renowned for its stream of strong leaders? You bet.

Rely on her to fill the net? No problem.

"I do me. I do what I do," says the prolific striker, who has 74 goals in 92 games to rank 13th in international goals among all players. "Whatever the role - score, lead - I do me."

Over the last five years, Wambach has gone from college hotshot to outright star, with some bumps in between. When the U.S. women, ranked No. 1 in the world, get to China in September for the World Cup, Wambach will be a marked woman.

Opponents will hack her, trip her, shove her and generally treat her the way other NBA centers treat Shaquille O'Neal. On June 24 against Brazil, Wambach was fouled a half-dozen times in a variety of manners in the first half. Several times, she remained on the turf for long periods.

But in the 17th minute, she made a perfect diagonal run to head in a long free kick by Cat Whitehill for a 2-0 lead.

"That's what Abby does," Whitehill says. "If I just put the ball anywhere near her, she's going to make the right play and she's going to finish."

Wambach's career - and chance for stardom - nearly was short circuited when she first joined the U.S. team in 2001 out of Florida. A college standout with a rugged presence the Americans needed after Michelle Akers left international soccer, Wambach struggled to fit in. And it ate at her core.

"I went through one or 1½ years in '01 and '02 unconfident," she says. "I was not making rosters and not playing. But I wasn't ready.

"I was not the most fit player on the team, and I wasn't getting onto the field much and I knew I had to work on it and when I did, other doors opened for me.

"Then came the WUSA and playing with Mia (Hamm), and when I came back to the team, I still couldn't get on the field. Why? I had to learn it just takes time as you work your way and you earn it. I had to earn it. It's a road you know you have to go on and I am absolutely a better player for going on that road."

That road was paved by the "91ers," women such as Hamm, Akers, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett and Carla Overbeck. All of them helped the United States win the first Women's World Cup in 1991, and another, memorably, in 1999.

There also were U.S. gold medals in the 1996 and 2004 Olympics - the final tournament for most of the longtime regulars, including U.S. Soccer Hall of Famers Hamm, whose 158 international goals are more than any man or woman, and Foudy.


http://www.sunherald.com/sports/story/93591.html

Offline hevding

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2007, 09:17:31 PM »
Best player in the world imo  ;D

Offline redrobin

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2007, 10:39:46 PM »
Karate??

Offline Dr Gonzo

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2007, 10:46:07 AM »
She should have got a stright red in Saturdays game, it was dangerous play....


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Offline hevding

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2007, 07:02:33 PM »
She should have got a stright red in Saturdays game, it was dangerous play....

Anyone who plays football knows that is just what happens when you fling your arms back to get power on the turn, it was just unfortunate that White was in the way!

shlj

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2007, 07:11:15 PM »
She should have got a stright red in Saturdays game, it was dangerous play....

Anyone who plays football knows that is just what happens when you fling your arms back to get power on the turn, it was just unfortunate that White was in the way!

It does happen at every level and it depends on the appreciation of the referee if he/she judges if it is intentional or not.

Online David

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2007, 06:44:53 PM »
Wambach talks of teamwork

COLONIE -- Abby Wambach, star striker for the U.S. women's national soccer team, came home from China Monday with a bronze medal, a Silver Shoe and a golden opportunity to teach young soccer players some valuable lessons about being a team player.
   
The 27-year-old Rochester native did just that during a clinic for about 300 fans Friday night at Afrim's Sports Center.
Wambach fielded some tough questions from the young, mostly female, crowd.

"I loved this; it was a lot of fun," said Mary Kelly, 14, of Guilderland. "She taught me about teamwork."

The World Cup provided some tough life lessons for Wambach.

"We were obviously hoping for a different result from the World Cup," Wambach said in an interview before the clinics. "But I've learned as my career winds down I have a lot of experiences that I can use to help kids."

Her team's 4-0 loss to Brazil in the semifinals and the aftermath was part of "the hardest five weeks in my life," Wambach said. And when U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo went public and criticized the coach for benching her, the team faced -- for the first time in its glorious history -- controversy.

But what happened next was the team's defining moment, according to Wambach. The coach and team unanimously decided to suspend Solo for the third-place game, and the team won the bronze convincingly over powerful Norway.

"Having played the third-place game like we did shows the character of this team and makes me so proud to be on this team. It makes me feel we have a lot more to be accomplished. We hope to have that opportunity in the next Olympics."

When asked if it was too harsh a punishment to a teammate, especially because she couldn't participate in the medal ceremony, Wambach continued to support the decision.

"We're losing sight of the reasons why our coach and our team decided not to have her around. There is a bigger picture. We all are responsible for our actions. We all have to look at these situations differently. It's easy to look on and say I feel bad for her, but it was what was best for the team," Wambach said.

As for individual achievements, Wambach certainly can look back at the World Cup as a career milestone. She earned the Silver Shoe as the tournament's second-leading scorer with six goals in six games during the World Cup. That stat in itself is amazing given the difficult draw the team faced in the tournament's group play. She scored the 83rd goal of her international career in China and hit the century mark in caps (international appearances). All that with a broken big toe, which she hid from the media and other teams to avoid being targeted.

"It was pretty amazing that I was able to score that many goals," she said. "But it was bittersweet because it didn't help us win a World Cup. That was my objective. Having fallen short of that is where the heartbreak sets in. Maybe down the road I'll be able to look back and say, hey, I did really good."

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=627843&category=SPORTS&newsdate=10/6/2007

Online David

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2007, 06:57:54 PM »
Wambach sees positive in Solo's comments

(October 8, 2007) — GATES — Pittsford native Abby Wambach called it the roughest four-day stretch in her six years with the United States women's soccer team.

But she said the controversy that erupted 10 days ago at the World Cup after the Americans' surprising 4-0 semifinal loss to Brazil and goalie Hope Solo's comments about being benched could be a blessing in disguise.

"Maybe one day I'll thank her," Wambach said in an interview after conducting a free clinic for about 600 kids at Total Sports Experience. "It's something I hope to never go through again, but our team unity now is as strong as I've ever felt."

Solo, 26, blasted coach Greg Ryan for starting veteran goalie Briana Scurry, 36, against Brazil after Solo had gone 3-0-1.

"There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves," said Solo, whose comments earned a suspension for the third-place match on Sept. 30, a 4-1 win over Norway.

"The fact of the matter is, it's not 2004 anymore. ... It's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present And you can't live by big names," Solo said. "You can't live in the past."

Solo's remarks and suspension received enormous media attention — both in favor and against her — and cast doubt on her future with the team, which will soon begin prepping for next year's Olympics. The 20 other U.S. players supported the decision to suspend Solo, who has since apologized.

Has she been forgiven? Will she be back?

"Those are questions that have to be asked to our coach," Wambach said. "Would I take Hope back? I've been quoted (by Sports Illustrated) as saying, 'I like to think I'd like to forgive her.' But it's still so raw and new to me that I haven't gotten over it yet. I'm a pretty forgiving person, but those are things — you can't forget about stuff like that, especially since I think it's going to make our team stronger."

Veteran forward Kristine Lilly is team captain, but Wambach is one of the squad's leaders. She backs off from her opinion as much as she does going for a header in front of goal.

"You can look at that situation and come up with your own opinion, but every single player that stepped on the field that day felt comfortable with Briana in the goal," she said of the keeper who was in goal for the dramatic World Cup win in 1999, when Brandi Chastain's jersey-shedding celebration made U.S. women's soccer famous.

"It was Greg's decision to put Bri in and I trust Bri because, you know what, that woman helped me win a gold medal (in 2004)."

Wambach said Solo, one of 12 World Cup rookies on the squad, put herself in a bad spot.

"I never in my whole life would put myself in a position where I'd be talking to the media if I was that emotional. That's just lessons to be learned by everybody," she said.

Wambach said the best teams keep their problems private.

"People may agree or disagree with what we did or what Greg did, but the fact of the matter is we've lost sight of what the essence of a team is. You don't throw your coach under the bus. ... It's an unwritten rule. We all know that," the 27-year-old Our Lady of Mercy High graduate said.

"Professional sports have taken a road that it's almost second nature to (question coaches) because, 'I'm not getting mine,' (but) it's still not OK. We are women that do things the right way, even if it's a hard thing to do."

How well the U.S. played in the win following the controversy showed the character of the squad, Wambach said, and it has strengthened the players' belief that they can live up to the championship legacy left by retired stars Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett.

"This is something that could define our future," Wambach said.

"The shoes that we had to fill were so big that we were never sure. We were always wondering, 'Are we ever going to have that team chemistry that they once had?' I think this situation proved that we have what it takes."

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071008/SPORTS/710080307/1007

Offline Hanna Ljungberg Fan

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2008, 01:38:01 PM »
Wambach out for Olympics!
Broken leg in brazil game

Offline twmcat

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2008, 12:58:12 AM »
I know she's an excellent player, but don't respect her as a person.
She deliberately elbowed Faye White, whatever she says.

And I seem to remember her saying after WWC "I'll have to wait until Olympics before I get a gold in Beijing" (I can't find a reference to that, sorry).

Well, dear Ms Wombat - I don't think you'll get a gold in Beijing in your lifetime now  ;D

The pic is Tytti Porkka of Finland - I actually took it myself, but have lost all my pics and have no more :(

Offline K_Lincourt30

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Re: Abby Wambach
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2009, 05:47:38 AM »
Abby Wambach is a monster. She can score from anywhere, anytime. A powerful strike or a flying header off of a corner or free kick.