She is the youngest of seven siblings with two sisters and four brothers born to Pete and Judy Wambach. Their mother checked out a book from the library explaining how to play the game, and from then on soccer became part of their family tradition.
I learned how to compete, my brothers and sisters always played with me on the same level and they never let me win until I was better than them and deserved it.
Being in such a big family makes you humble. You might have a certain skill or talent but there is always someone who is better at something than you.
One of the first experiences where I knew she'd be better than most, was a game of catch football. I threw the ball to one of the neighbors and Abby tackled him. She got up and he was on the ground, groaning. She was 11 or I don't think he was ready to get blasted.
As a pre-teen, she began eluding defenders by heading the ball over them and running around them. Soccer Festival in Blaine, Minnesota. In , she traveled to Beijing, China , as a member of the first American youth soccer team to ever compete there.
With Mia Hamm out for the first half of the season for knee surgery and recovery, the Freedom found themselves in sixth place.
After Hamm's return, the team finished the remainder of the season 9—1—2, finishing third with a berth into the playoffs. Mia was out, we had just started playing with the Chinese players, Steffi hadn't come yet.
There were so many factors that went into us not playing as well. Since people have returned, and we have been able to grasp what exactly one another was doing out there, it's been easier to get results.
She was Washington's leading scorer with ten goals and ten assists and finished tied for fourth for scoring in the WUSA. She scored the game-winning goal in the sixth minute of overtime off a cross from Jenny Meier, leading the Freedom to defeat the Atlanta Beat 2—1 during the championship match.
During the WPS Player Allocation in which twenty-one players from the United States national team player pool were assigned to the seven teams in the new league, Wambach was assigned to the Washington Freedom.
During the Freedom's next game on May 3, , she received a yellow card for a tackle on St. Louis Athletica midfielder Daniela that left Daniela with two damaged knee ligaments and a crack in the tibia and sidelined her for the rest of the season.
She dropped to the ground and appeared disoriented after standing up. US Soccer announced several days later that she had suffered a concussion and acknowledged that the injury should have been handled differently by the referee, coaching staff, and players.
It was the team's first league win and lifted them to a three-way tie for third place in the league. I've scored no goals just on my own.
Every goal I've ever scored has been because of someone else on my team, their excellence, their bravery. And I'm kind of the end product of a collection of a really good vibe, and feeling, and creativity on the field.
Her first cap for the United States women's national soccer team occurred on September 9, during a match against Germany at the Nike U. Cup in Chicago. She subbed in for Tiffeny Milbrett in the 76th minute. The U.
In August , Wambach was named to the U. She received her first yellow card of the tournament in the 49th minute.
Mia Hamm followed with a goal in the 82nd minute for a final score of 3—0. Wambach received her second yellow card of the tournament in the 49th minute, giving her an automatic suspension for the final group stage match against Australia.
After Hamm scored on a penalty kick in the 58th minute, Wambach sealed the win with a goal in the 77th. Wambach's goal in the 59th minute lifted the Americans to a 2—1 victory. Wambach's yard header in the th minute off a corner kick from Kristine Lilly gave the U.
Wambach had become a regular on the team for five years and had assumed a new position as leader on the team. She was sidelined from the pitch for ten minutes while she received five stitches to the back of her head. The United States was ahead 1—0 thanks to a goal Wambach had scored in the 50th minute, assisted by Kristine Lilly.
The squad allowed two goals while Wambach was away for those ten minutes. So I started to run to the locker room to get stitches put in", Wambach said. A few minutes after Wambach returned to the pitch, the United States tied the match with a goal scored by Heather O'Reilly.
Wambach scored two goals and notched up her record to 80 goals in 98 international matches after scoring in the 34th minute on a penalty kick and again in the 58th minute on a left-footed half-volley from a cross from Kristine Lilly.
Wambach provided the assist with a header off a long thrown-in to Lori Chalupny who settled it off her chest and chipped the ball past Nigeria's goalkeeper. The win launched the U. All three goals were scored within 12 minutes. Although Wambach insisted the contact was accidental, the English players and media thought otherwise.
Coach Greg Ryan decided to bench starting goalkeeper, Hope Solo , and instead started Brianna Scurry , a veteran goalkeeper who had started in three World Cups and two Olympics, but who had started very few matches since the Olympics. Wambach scored a brace with goals in the 30th and 46th minutes.
She ended the tournament having scored six goals in six matches, despite her head injury and a previous foot injury suffered during a friendly match against Finland just a month prior to the World Cup. Will it take a lot of hard work and dedication, pain and suffering?