Mary Abigail Wambach is known worldwide simply as Abby. As a star soccer player for the United States, Abby has traveled all over the world and has many accomplishments. Her talent in the sport started when she was very young, and her persistence and hard work have made her even better.
At age four, Abby played in her first soccer league in Rochester, New York. She was quickly transferred from the girls’ to the boys’ team after scoring 27 goals in three games. Abby was not intimidated by the boys because she had spent a lot of time playing around with her four older brothers. Her experience playing with and against the rougher boys made her a more aggressive soccer player, which greatly benefitted her.
After high school, Abby attended the University of Florida. She played soccer there and was named All-SEC for four straight seasons, Player of the Year for the conference twice, and First-Team NSCAA All-American once. Along with these accomplishments, Abby led the Gators to the NCAA Final Four in her senior year. In her career as a Gator, Abby set school records for career goals, assists, points, game-winning goals, and hat tricks.
In 2001, Abby caught the attention of the U-21 National Team coach Jerry Smith. He told her that if she worked hard she had a chance of making the team. She earned her Senior National Team debut at the Nike Women’s Cup that year. The next year, Abby was the second draft pick to the WUSA to play for the Washington Freedom alongside Mia Hamm. Playing professionally, Abby improved her abilities and became an even better soccer player.
The Washington Freedom won the league title in 2003 through the leadership of Abby and Mia. The Women’s National Team took third place in the 2003 World Cup, with Abby starting nine out of fourteen games that year. After the World Cup, Abby was named U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2003. Abby lead the team to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games. Also in 2004, Abby became the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.
Abby was the second-fastest player in U.S. history to reach 50 goals. Abby now stands as the fifth U.S. player and ninth female player in world history to notch 100 career international goals. She holds the best goals per game ratio in U.S. soccer history. She is also the top US Olympic scorer, the second all-time leading scorer in international soccer history, and a five-time U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year.
By: -Lauren Keyser