Soccer players like Abby Wambach are only born once in a generation. And when they come, they leave giant prints on the sands in their wake. Wambach is a former US Women soccer forward and holder of the accolade of the highest goal scorer (both on the men side and the women side) in US history with 184 goals.
Her signature goalscoring technique is meeting the ball with a diving header, especially from set-pieces; a skill she developed through steady practice in her high school days according to her high school soccer team coach, Kathy Boughton. There is so much more to learn about the soccer enigma and former World Player of the Year. Read on!
Abby Wambach’s Bio, Age
Abby Wambach was born and given the name Mary Abigail Wambach on June 2, 1980. Her parents are Pete and Judy Wambach and she was born in Rochester, New York where she was also raised. Abby hails from a relatively large family where she happened to be the youngest among the seven children born to her parents. She had to grow among four big brothers (her other siblings being two sisters) which toughened her up and also introduced her to the game of soccer.
Soccer was the family sports, almost like a tradition, she started playing at age four and by the time she was five years old, she was unplayable in the girls’ team of her age grade. Abby was so good at that age that she scored 27 goals in just three matches at her age grade soccer league. This forced the administrators to move her to the boys’ team instead. In fact, at any stage she played, Abby Wambach was always ahead of her peers in the game.
High School and College Soccer Career
In 1994, she enrolled at Our Lady of Mercy High School and of course, she played soccer. Before she graduated in 1998, she had scored a total of 142 goals, however, soccer was not the only sports she was good at. Abby also played basketball in high school. In soccer, she was named Umbro National High School Player of the Year and was given the nod for the Parade Magazine’s High School All-America Team.
She also earned both the state (New York), regional and national NSCAA – National Soccer Coaches Association of America – player awards, among so many other recognition including traveling to compete in China in 1997 as part of the first US youth soccer team to achieve that.
As expected, she was one of the hottest properties in soccer out of high school and there were several opportunities her to choose from including the University of Virginia, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of North Carolina, but she would eventually settle for a scholarship program with the University of Florida. Her decision appalled everyone watching because the University of Florida soccer program had only been around for just three years whereas the schools that came after her were submerged in the proud history of their soccer program and achievements.
In the time she spent playing for the Florida Gators between 1998 and 2001, she did not only lead the team to the finals of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships consecutively, she also won the four championships. Abby then won the NCAA national championship over the Tar Heels (University of North Carolina female soccer team) who had won the title fifteen times; this was in her first season with the Gators – in 1998.
Overall, she set several records in the school that are yet to be broken including highest goal scorer with 96 goals in her Florida Gators career. Other records are 10 hat-tricks, 24 winning goals, and 50 assists. Her college career recognitions include her induction into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002, a first-team All-SEC selection from 1998 to 2001, SEC Tournament MVP honors and SEC Player of the Year award in 2000 and 2001, and so on.
Abby Wambach’s Pro Career
Abby Wambach entered the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) Draft in 2002 and was selected by the Washington Freedom as the second overall pick of the draft. She won the Rookie of the Year in her freshman season. The WUSA folded up in 2003 and the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) was created as a replacement in 2009. Wambach played in the league with Washington Freedom, which was rebranded and named MagicJack. By October 2011, the club was dissolved and a few months later in 2012, WPS was also suspended.
When the league returned in 2013 as the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), existing players were distributed to the clubs that played in the newly formed league which saw Wambach in a new club – the Western New York Flash.
Representing the Stars and Stripes – USWNT
She began her international career in 2001, representing the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup which took place on home soil. That would only be the beginning as Abby Wambach would go on to play 255 games for the Stars and Stripes, scoring 184 goals in the process – a number that has become the highest goal figure by any US player whether male or female.
She represented the USWNT in three more FIFA World Cup tournaments including two Olympics fiestas. She was with the US team in 2007, 2011, and 2015 FIFA World Cups hosted in China, Germany, and Canada respectively, winning the 2015 edition. She won the soccer gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and London Olympics in 2012, only missing out on the 2008 tournament due to a foot injury.
She picked up the Silver Shoe and Bronze Boot as the USWNT finished in third place at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup as they did in the 2003 edition. They would go one step forward and finish second in the 2011 edition after losing to Japan in the finals. Her goal – trademark header – in the dying moments of extra-time in the quarter-finals match against Brazil kept the USWNT in the tournament as they edged out Brazil in the subsequent penalty shoot-out.
Abby Wambach was voted FIFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2012 and became the first US player to win it in 10 years. She was also named US Player of the Year six times. Her last-minute goal against Brazil that forced penalties in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup won the ESPY Award for Best Play of the Year in 2011. Abby announced her retirement from the round leather game on October 27, 2015, before releasing her autobiography, Forward, in 2016.
Is Abby Wambach Gay? Girlfriend
The former professional soccer player is gay but to her, it’s not a subject to be discussed. Abby believes that if being straight is not a topic of discussion, gay should not also be a discussion. Her first known gay relationship was with Sarah Huffman, fellow soccer player for the USWNT who she later married in 2013. About the marriage, she insisted it was not a case of ‘coming out of the closet’ as she has never been in one.
Married Life – Wife, Divorce, Kids
Abby Wambach got married to her lesbian girlfriend, Sarah Huffman, on October 5, 2013, in a wedding ceremony that took place in Hawaii. However, the union did not stand the test of time and three years later, they were divorced. Wambach moved on with bestselling author and blogger, Glennon Doyle Melton in 2016. They were engaged in February 2017 and three months later, they were married. Wambach has no known kids but her wife, Glennon has three children – two girls and a boy – from her marriage of 14 years to Craig Melton whom she divorced.