Tuesday, October 27, 2015

World Soccer Legend Abby Wambach Announces Retirement

Abby Wambach, the leading scorer in the history of international soccer and an all-around legend, is retiring.

The 35-year-old will play her last game on Dec. 16 against China PR in New Orleans with the U.S. Women's National Team, according to a U.S. Soccer press release. The game is part of a victory tour following the team's championship at the 2015 Women's World Cup.

Wambach has played 252 games in her career, ranking fifth in U.S. history, and has 184 goals -- the top scored by any man or woman in international soccer.

Naturally, the star will miss the game, and we'll miss her, too.

“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,” Wambach said in a statement. “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.”

There was a whirlwind of speculation surrounding Wambach's retirement right after the women's team bulldozed Japan to finish off the World Cup on July 5. USA Today reported at the time that she was non-committal over her future in the sport, with many wondering if she’d continue on to the Olympic Games next year.

Wambach is a 15-year veteran of soccer, having started in 2001 at the age of 21 in a game against Germany. She now has three Olympic gold medals and has played in four World Cup tournaments -- along with winning about every women’s soccer accolade there is.

“Abby is a player who has transcended our sport and her legacy as one of the world’s greatest players is set forever,” U.S. Head Coach Jill Ellis said in a statement. “What she has done for women’s soccer and women’s sports overall with her amazing talents on the field and her personality off it has been inspiring to watch. I am just extremely happy that she could end her career with that elusive World Cup title and go out on top, right where she deserves to be.”

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