Her single goal this World Cup, after a combined 10 in the previous two, is evidence of her regression. “It’s been a constant reminder”, Wambach said Friday, passion crackling off of her like sparks. It is the date the United States lost the World Cup final to then underdog Japan, twice blowing the lead – including once in extra time – to eventually lose on penalty kicks. “She said “whatever role is needed, I will deliver””, Ellis said. “It’s been a constant reminder since July 17, 2011”.
It seems fitting that the US Women’s National Team will battle Japan in the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup. She has won two Olympic Gold Medals, in 2004 and 2012. It’s all that Wambach can think about. The US women’s national team ranked third in the tournament in 2003 and 2007, while placing second to Germany in 2011.
“I want to be remembered as an authentic team player”, she said.
“I want this for our team”. I always know where she is going to be. There’s only one prize she has yet to win – the Women’s World Cup. “I never felt like I was in a closet”.
Wambach’s legacy will be affected by the result of the match with Japan, but it won’t be shaped by it. She already has a case for the greatest soccer player to wear the American crest (male or female), and even if she doesn’t get the record-tying goal, it shouldn’t matter.
The only thing missing from her repertoire is a World Cup title, but that could change Sunday, July 5. It may also be Abby’s last World Cup appearance. Brandi Chastain ended that title winning game with a now-famous victory celebration in which she tore off her jersey. For two-time Olympic gold medalist, all-time lead scorer for the USA, and star forward Abby Wambach, a trip to colorist Danielle Lint at New York’s Warren-Tricomi salon was a necessary stop prior to playing on a global stage. “No matter how much time she gets on the field this tournament, she’s irreplaceable”. She motivates us, but keeps us in check.
But it is the World Cup by which greatness is measured, and it is that title that Wambach craves. Before the historic match goes down, here are five things you need to know about the soccer legend!
“We had early conversations and from day one”, USA coach Jill Ellis said. “She has been tremendous over the years and I want nothing more than to help her legacy and to win the World Cup“. Will you watch as she takes on Germany?
The 2015 FIFA’s Women’s World Cup will have one of its biggest matches on June 30, when the United States plays Germany.
To make the transition, Lint began by bleaching Wambach’s hair from mid-length to ends, and then returned to the roots since they lift faster. “Obviously, I want to win it for myself and for the team“.
At 35, Wambach’s career is winding down, and while she’ll find a spot waiting for her at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the same can not be said for the next World Cup in 2019. She never shies away from a question and she loves to talk – about soccer, about teammates – about anything, really.
After the press conference broke into a series of scrums, Wambach acknowledged “what a humbling and spiritual journey it has been to know that I will be leaving this team better than when I found it”. But that goal would solidify her standing in the minds of many.
And Wambach is transparent about what this World Cup means to her. Because that’s what it takes. And if it does, I might give you guys all a kiss on the mouth.