Thursday, July 14, 2011

Abby Wambach: American Sports Hero On a Mission

Abby Wambach, with her play in this year's Women's World Cup, has elevated herself among the likes of Mia Hamm and the Williams sisters in the pantheon of American Female Sporting Legends.

Wambach has three goals in this World Cup, and every goal has not only been spectacular, but occurred right when her team needed it.  The most dramatic of these was her last-minute, overtime goal in the quarterfinal game against Brazil in which she met a strong, miraculous pass from teammate Megan Rapinoe, and redirected it with her head strongly into the net past two defenders.

Wambach is highly praised by teammates and her coaches who talk of her will to win, and her leadership. Playing with the US National Team since 2004, Wambach has 121 goals in 162 caps, good enough for 3rd place all-time in goals scored for the women's team. She's also been named the U.S. Women's Soccer Athlete of the Year four times.

Hobbled by an achilles injury that refuses to completely heal, Wambach has played through pain for the past year.
“I have inflammation where the Achilles is attached so there is a lot of pain there at different times,” Wambach said. “It is not always so bad when it is warmed up but the next day is hurts a lot and it is hard to get out of bed sometimes. But it is a World Cup and we are in the finals so I am not going anywhere. I just play through it and do the job.”
Wambach's singular mindset is to win a World Cup for herself, her team, and her country.  She was not a member of the 1999 World Cup championship squad, but has played in the 2003 and 2007 teams that fell short.  She won a gold medal with the American team in the 2008 Olympics, but missed the 2004 with a broken leg.

In what is probably her last shot at a World Cup Championship, Wambach has been a woman on a mission.

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