Abby Wambach will retire from international soccer at the end of 2015, the former Florida star announced through U.S. Soccer on Tuesday.
"After much deliberation and talking with my friends, family, teammates and our coaching staff, I’ve decided to finally bring my soccer career to an end," said Wambach. "While we still have more work to do for women’s soccer, after bringing the World Cup back to the United States this summer, I’m feeling extremely optimistic about the future of our sport. It’s been an amazing, wonderful ride and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of my life brings."
Wambach added a final laurel to an illustrious career with the U.S. Women's National Team this summer, when she helped the Americans win the World Cup for the first time since 1999, and the first time in her four World Cup appearances. She also won two Olympic gold medals with the U.S., in 2004 and 2012, scoring the medal-winning goal in the final of the former tournament.
A farewell to Abby
A farewell to Abby
Known for her ability to produce fierce headers — a skill so distinctive and singular that an ESPN-produced documentary on her was titled Abby: Head On — Wambach used her powerful frame to score more goals in international play than any other player, male or female, in the history of soccer. She holds Florida's career record for goals, too, and both led Florida to four SEC titles and helped the Gators win their first national title by assisting in dethroning the North Carolina dynasty as a freshman in 1998.
It's unclear whether Wambach will also retire from club soccer. While the 2015 World Cup was widely expected to be her last hurrah as a member of the Women's National Team, Wambach only chose to sit out the 2015 National Women's Soccer League season, and her rights were traded from the Western New York Flash — which played its home games in Wambach's hometown of Rochester, at a stadium whose entrance is now named Wambach Way — to the Seattle Reign FC in March, much closer to the home she owns in Portland with her wife.
It wouldn't be a total surprise for Wambach, a strong proponent of the NWSL, to continue her playing career with the Reign, nor would it be shocking for her to have the clout to effect a move to the Portland Thorns.
Regardless, though, Wambach's international career is one of the finest by any American athlete in any sport, and she got the ultimate triumph she so diligently pursued this summer, so this is a legend going out on top.
And Wambach now has one more thing to talk about when she comes to Gainesville to speak next week.