Abby Wambach to retire from soccer at end of year

Jeff Kassouf October 27, 2015 265
(Getty Images)

Abby Wambach has retired. (Getty Images)

Abby Wambach will retire from soccer at the end of the year.

U.S. Soccer made the announcement on Tuesday, a mere few hours after Wambach and the U.S. women visited the White House to celebrate their 2015 Women’s World Cup title.

“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. “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.”

[MORE: Wambach’s greatest moments  |  Social media reacts to retirement]

The all-time leading goal-scorer in the history of internationl soccer with 184 goals, Wambach is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and most recently a World Cup champion.

Wambach, 35, will be with the U.S. women for all four of the team’s final World Cup victory tour matches. Her final game will be Dec. 16 in the Superdome in New Orleans, La.

Part of the Olympic gold-medal winning teams in 2004 and 2012, Wambach missed the 2008 Olympics after breaking her leg in the final friendly match before the team left for China. She has scored nine goals in 10 career Olympics.

In 2011, Wambach scored one of the most famous goals in American soccer history, heading in a cross from Megan Rapinoe in the 122nd minute to equalize against Brazil in the quarterfinals. The U.S. went on to win in penalty kicks, avoiding its earliest-ever exit at a World Cup and marching to the final, where Japan would win on penalty kicks despite what looked like a game-winning goal from Wambach in extra time. At the time, the goal was the latest ever scored in a FIFA competition. One year later, teammate Alex Morgan scored the game-winner in the 123rd minute of the Olympic semifinal against Canada.

Wambach was named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in 2012, and she finished third in 2011 and 2014. The United States’ record when Wambach scores in a game is 116-2-8. Wambach’s 14 Women’s World Cup goals are the second-most goals in history, trailing only to Brazil’s Marta.

At the club level, Wambach came onto the scene with the Washington Freedom. U.S. Soccer legend Mia Hamm took Wambach under her wings on the club and country level, and the two won the WUSA Founders Cup title in 2003 on Wambach’s golden goal. The league folded after the season. Wambach returned to the nation’s capital to play for the Washington Freedom in WPS in 2009 and 2010, before following the franchise on its controversial path to Boca Raton, Fla., in its one-year existence as magicJack. The late Dan Borislow owned that team and got into a legal battle with WPS, eventually helping end the league before the start of its fourth season.

A Pittsford, N.Y., native, Wambach returned home to Rochester, N.Y. to play for the Western New York Flash at the start of the National Women’s Soccer League in 2013. She publicly expressed her desire to be in Portland — where she and now wife Sarah Huffman had just bought a house — but admitted that it was best for the league that she help grow the Flash franchise.

In two seasons with the Flash, Wambach tallied 17 goals and 12 assists in 29 matches. Her 11 goals in 2013 were tied for second-most in the league and helped the Flash finish atop the regular-season standings and runners-up to Portland after losing the final at home.

After announcing she would not play the 2015 NWSL season, Wambach’s rights were traded to Seattle Reign FC, but she stuck to her decision and never reported.

This World Cup was a very different one for Wambach, who played in all seven matches at the World Cup but started only three games, scoring one goal in 297 minutes.

According to U.S. Soccer, Wambach scored just over 500 goals combined in her high school, college, professional club, youth national team and senior international career.

Wambach debuted for the U.S. national team on Sept. 9, 2001, scoring her first senior international goal on April 27, 2002. On June 20, 2013, she scored four goals in the first half against South Korea to break Hamm’s all-time international scoring record.

  • SpiritFan00

    THANK GOD

    • Thank god she’s got a lot more class than you do.

    • Tania

      So not the time.

    • mskillens

      ….. Abby Wambach is GOAT!

  • HOFCToDi

    Abby Wambach has officially retired from professional soccer!

    New York City needs to hold another parade down the “Canyon of Heroes”.

    Now if Christie Rampone retires from professional soccer, New York City can get a two for one.

  • smallbatches

    My estimation of her has gone way up. Really happy she made this decision. Keeps her legacy as one of the greatest ever intact. Now was the perfect time to step aside. Well done Abby.

  • dw

    Count me wrong on this one. Way to make the right call, Abby. I expect to see her for at least 300 of the remaining 360 minutes in her career.

  • JL

    Regardless of how many of us feel about some of the things Abby has done, she has had a great career. Can we be respectful of that for once?

    • HOFCToDi

      Abby Wambach’s last great performance for the USWNT, 26 October 2014.

      youtube.com/watch?v=iF0szGyN_g4

      Winning a CONCACAF Women’s Championship in style.

      • Lorehead

        Her game-winner against Nigeria to clinch first place in the group stage was a special goal, too.

        • HOFCToDi

          Abby Wambach looked in form during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Tournament. Besides, four goals in one game is hard to top, especially in the final of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Tournament.

          • Lorehead

            It was also the World Cup qualifying tournament, although if I recall correctly, the USWNT was already in when they reached the final. Big game at a big moment.

      • Cc W

        Yes – a complete game where everything was working, She was in fine form. Crazy to think it was only a year ago. She has had a few important goals since, but this was when she was still at her best.

        • HOFCToDi

          “Crazy to think it was only a year ago.”

          Which scares me about Rampone trying to continue on. An athlete can fall apart in a brief period, especially one over the age of 35.

          • Cc W

            That’s for sure – happens in every sport. I hope Rampone announces her retirement in Hawaii. She has a month at home to think about it and realizes that if Abby is looking out for the greater good, she should do the same.

          • HOFCToDi

            The 2012 Summer Olympics squad turnover to date:

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Women%27s_team_squads#United_States

            Barnhart
            Boxx
            Buehler/Van Hollebeke
            Cheney/Holiday
            LePeilbet
            Mitts
            Wambach

            The USWNT needs to add Rampone to the turnover list.

          • newsouth

            Rampone can still run.

          • mockmook

            Younger players can run longer (some even faster).

            Regardless, she is blocking someone’s development as the next Rampone.

          • HOFCToDi

            Until Rampone’s back gives out again.

          • Cc W

            And I’d add Arod

          • mockmook

            A-Rod is still young enough and good enough that the onus for such a change is on the coaches.

  • Altius

    The right time, the right call.

    184 international goals.
    2 gold medals and a World Cup.
    The header heard ’round the world.

    What a player she was. What a legend she’ll be.

    • One of a Kind

      ””OHHH CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? ABBY WAMBACH HAS SAVEEED THE USA’S LIFE HERE AT THIS WORLD CUP!”

      *dramatic pause from Darke and Foudy*

      “I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

      Legendary.

      • Altius

        That will never *not* give me chills.

        One of the greatest sporting moments I’ve ever seen.

        • David K Anderson

          Same here. Inch-perfect ball in…flawless finish…at the most clutch possible moment.

          • Steglitz49

            Abby was the only US player to net her penalty in the final. (Can’t have been fun to watch her colleagues melt down.)

          • JN West

            Which made the World Cup win 4 years later that much more sweeter.

          • Steglitz49

            I wonder what she really thinks of Carli, whose penalty of 2011 is still orbiting Saturn, yet had such a great final this time round?

            (The penalty that would have made it 1-1 — and then Yuki missed hers.)

          • Altius

            Can you imagine if she hadn’t gotten to that ball? If Rapinoe’s cross had been even three inches off closer to net and the GK had snatched it?

            Like the entire trajectory of women’s soccer in the US depended on that moment…

          • Michelle

            I found the ESPN Sports Science piece about this cross (which I can no longer seem to find anywhere) a few years ago and every time I see the clip of the goal, I think of how they said that Pinoe’s cross was literally perfect. An inch either way and that goal doesn’t happen. Amazing.

          • Lorehead

            She’s always been gracious and said Pinoe’s pass was what was really amazing about it, but she’ll always have that moment.

          • LadiesinCleats4

            The pass was awesome, the goal changed the women’s game in the US.

      • HOFCToDi

        “Everybody has to bomb forward now ……..”

        youtube.com/watch?v=cvGfV6qCiOI

        • Esk22

          That’s what you call USA Razzle Dazzle!

      • sweetjazz3

        I thought Foudy said, “I CAN believe it!”

    • Steglitz49

      Wrong order: a world cup — and then the rest.

  • One of a Kind

    Wambach is a legend that we’ll remember for eons and I truly respect what she’s done for the game, but am I wrong for feeling an overwhelming sense of relief about this announcement?

    I’m probably most happy for Wambach herself; the last thing I wanted to see was a clearly past-it, 36 year-old Wambach trudging along while someone more deserving was left off the team to the ire of fans. I wonder if NBC will hire her for their Olympic coverage next year. She oozes charisma.

    • Cc W

      No, not wrong to feel relief. No one wanted an ugly scene or the Farve-like will she or won’t she. She can parlay this into a nice future doing a bunch of things.

  • Dizzywale

    Incredible goal scoring record.

  • Miami66

    Wow, thought she might’ve continued with professional but retired from international. Is it just me or do female players tend to mostly retire from both international and professional at the same time? Lots of male players continue on in the pros. Assuming the reality of them getting large pro paychecks makes it worth it to risk further injuries and such.

    • Altius

      $$

      • Miami66

        Yeah, not worth it [yet] for female players to play professionally later in their careers. They can go into announcing, coaching, soccer TV/media, or a whole other line of work and make a lot more.

        • dw

          No way she would play in NWSL for unallocated pay. (She probably makes more than a team’s entire non-allocated salary cap.) She had previously hinted at Europe, where at least she could earn a reasonable fraction of what she did from USSF.

          • Steglitz49

            Too late for Europe. To give Abby her due, she helped get the NWSL off the floor.

          • dw

            Referendum will be out on this one for a while, on whether Borislowian economics have helped or hindered the NWSL.

          • Steglitz49

            After OG-12 a whole slew of American players could have decamped to Europe. Pinoe and Tobin did but Abby and Alex stayed in the US and put their shoulders to the NWSL wheel as did other less high profile players to their credits. A few took other advantages.

            We first saw Abby play in 2003 and exclaimed in unison: “What a player!” She was.

          • dw

            Historical revisionism already? Putting their shoulders to the wheel?They earn/earned more than their entire clubs. They got a gold-plated deal, Steg.

          • Steglitz49

            If either Abby or Alex had made themselves available, it is reasonable that both Lyon and PSG would have licked their collective chops.

          • dw

            Yeah but at that point the USSF money was so big that Europe could only (if at all) offer a very marginal increase. Compare that to home cookin’, and it’s highly unlikely to have ever happened. The gold-plated deal did do that, it kept all the big stars in the USA.

          • Steglitz49

            PSG? With the Emir’s money? Lyon may not be the wealthiest club in Europe but they would have sprung for either of those.

            Granted, USSF held the whip-hand in that they could have gotten Nike and others to cut the PR-money if they had stepped out of line but I honestly think that both Abby and Alex cared about getting a league going in the US.

            Some of their colleagues clearly did not.

          • dw

            And I saw you were already typing, and figured your reasoning would be something like this. But you forget sponsor dollars, and sponsor demographics. Alex and Abby would take a big hit overseas.

          • Steglitz49

            That is what I wrote but thank you for reinforcing my comment.

            I still persist in my heresy that Alex and Abby were putting the future of pro-WoSo in the US before their own immediate gains.

            I would, however, buy that without the NWSL, winning the World Cup would have been harder if not impossible even. In that sense they looked after #1.

          • My2cents

            So are you saying, by the formation of the NWSL, it gave the NT players the opportunity to play in more competitive games, then what would have come out of some of the friendlies, allowing them to be better prepared for the competition in the World Cup. Your right I don’t think they would have won without that competition, so I guess Gulati accomplished what he set out to do. As far Abby and Alex, regardless of whatever their motives were, NWSL or not, were not going anywhere far away from their sponsors. Too many things they would need to do to earn their money.

          • Lorehead

            Sponsors care about the World Cup and Olympics, not where women play their club soccer.

          • mockmook

            “Borislowian economics”????

          • dw

            By all accounts, that’s what Dan wanted to create himself, a champagne and caviar set for super elite players and nada for the rest of them. Funny how the league kicked him out, then the next league is based on that very model.

  • JAMES 18

    Niceeeeee!!!,late better than never I guess.

  • skybolt

    Thanks for the great memories Abby. This was the right call. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing her as a commentator. She’s a great speaker and will tell it like it is.

    • Terry Lash

      I would rather see her be a senior executive at FIFA fighting for women’s soccer. The “good ol’ boys” would find it hard to treat her without respect.

      • skybolt

        She definitely has the capacity to do both.

        • Steglitz49

          As a member of FIFA’s top brass, I doubt that she would be allowed to commentate for media.

  • Dillon77

    Just happen to have the SI World Cup Trophy Cover with Abby (and teammates) next to me. Heartiest congratulations for the WC, Olympic titles and NCAA title, among all the other accomplishments (184 international goals, including THAT header).
    All the best in the next part of the journey!

  • Маркус Джилс

    Greatest soccer player in the history of our country. Incredible career. Incredible skill. 184 goals. Gave us he finish of a lifetime in 2011. I wish the country knew what she’s done. She’s Michael Jordan, Serena Williams esque.

    Holiday, Boxx, Chalupny, Wambach. All gone. Cant wait to see this Rio roster.

    • HM

      With only 18 players for OG, they still need to cut one player from the WC squad. Naeher most likely. And Dunn will replace Press.

      • Calci0

        Dunn will not replace Press. Press is going to Rio, not much of a debate.

        • mockmook

          I won’t argue the merits, but the numbers game could definitely end up freezing Press out.

          • Calci0

            If you take 3 out and out fwds, I don’t see how they leave either of the two most productive NT fwds behind. Morgan is a lock. To me Press, and Leroux have more than proven they need to be on the team. That’s not counting, the US took 4 last time out.

          • mockmook

            But, is that how JE thinks about it?

            A-Rod (not Press) was slated to be used if Alex wasn’t deemed fit enough for the WWC vs GER or JPN (I forget which).

            It is very plausible that JE may consider enough players from this list to be better options at Forward (for a variety of reasons) so she freezes Press out:

            Alex
            A-Rod
            Lloyd
            Leroux
            Dunn

            And, no way Press makes it as a midfielder.

            Not saying she won’t make it, but certainly is not a lock.

  • Cc W

    Congrats to Abby on a great career! I’m happy that she is going out a champion and appreciate that while this may have been difficult, she is putting the team and the program first.

    She has an incredible legacy and she can be very proud of all that she has accomplished.

  • Mory

    Wonder what the strikeforce will be now.

    Morgan is a starter. Lloyd has been moved up to striker recently, but I wonder if she’ll stay there. Leroux has barely played since a couple of poor performances at the World Cup so we’ll keep our eye on that. Press probably has the most raw talent and dribbling, and finishing….but she hasn’t shown it and hasn’t shown any sort of clutchness. So all of that is worthless is you don’t show it. And people are talking about the whole broadcasting thing…after watching her a couple of times, I don’t see the charisma yet needed for TV. All she has is the looks. So she may want to hold off on that. ARod….please no. And then there’s new people.

    Personally, I’d like to see Press get some kind of form and start up top. Leroux would be fine too.

    But if neither gain any form, then just keep Lloyd there for now.

    • Steglitz49

      May the force be with you?

    • dw

      Wide open up top in USWNT land. Morgan/Horan looking potentially more likely.

      • Mory

        How much has Horan played? I wasn’t able to watch the recent match, so all I’ve seen of her is subsitute appearances. I don’t remember anthing sticking out about her.

        • dw

          Well everyone else is a re-tread, Press is in the doghouse, and Dunn is listed as defender. Morgan’s best in the 4-4-2 and Alex/Horan is a poor man’s Alex/Abby.

          • Steglitz49

            What is a poor lady’s A&A for the NT?

          • Terry Lash

            Why is Press in the dog house?

          • Steglitz49

            I don’t think that Christen is in the dog house at all. Not even in the pig stye. Christen is giving her all to her possible TV-career. More power to her elbow.

          • Lorehead

            She’s not the starter at center-forward over Alex Morgan, if that’s what they mean.

          • mockmook

            Looks like Alex and Carli for the hear future.

          • AlexH

            So the next controversy is going to be Carli after the USA wins the gold medal. She’ll be older than Abby is now in 2019 and I don’t think she will be able to keep it up that long. Hopefully she will retire on top.

          • My2cents

            May be just the thing that is needed to get Horan to come back and play in the NWSL if not next year, because of the smaller roster, then after, especially if her contract expires at the end of next season.

          • Cc W

            Horan is young, if nothing else, she needs to get into the camps so they can see what she can do. Having a taller player who can score via headers is nice to have. She may not be a starter – could be an alternate for the OG – time well spent.

          • Guest

            Horan hasn’t shown much yet but I have she seems to be a player in the mold of Wambach than the other speedy forwards on the roster. She is 5’9″ and strong in the air. She attacks the ball in the air like Carli but is physically quite a bit bigger. I also liked her touches on the ball with her feet she seem like a 9 that can successfully hold up play against strong defenders. I do not however think that she ready for international play yet and needs to adjust to the speed of the Game. Playing in the NWSL will probably go a long way towards getting experience in faster type of game that the US like to play. Hope we se her again Brazil really took it to us in the second game no matter the scoreline.

          • Cc W

            I agree with you – she’s not yet ready. But she has potential – another player to watch.

          • Guest

            I like the type of skills she can bring to the position. With the type of wings the US develops a Wambach type player will be very successful. If she develops into a top forward she will take a lot of pressure of a speed forward like Morgan.

          • mockmook

            Only will be successful if she can be as effective at passing to open wingers.

          • Guest

            I liked her touches on the ball from what I could see and thought she moved the ball well to wide players a couple of times. I think she is already the second best hold up player on the roster behind Arod

          • Terry Lash

            Why is Press in the doghouse?

      • Terry Lash

        Horan is too slow, and she cannot duplicate Wambach’s capabilities.

        • Guest

          She doesn’t have to be as good as Wambach to be an effective forward. The header right before Dunn’s goal was fantastic. No she is not fast compared to the rest of the US roster but I think that trait is incredibly overvalued given the type of role she would be playing. I don’t think she is as slow as people are making out though. Overall though, I don’t think she is ready for the senior team yet.

          • Terry Lash

            If she wants to make the USWNT she probably should make her case by joining an NWSL team and scoring lots of goals.

          • Guest

            I agree

    • HOFCToDi

      Abby Wambach has some insights.

      youtube.com/watch?v=RQD_Q53lHjk

      “Alex is going to take this game into the future with ……”

      • Bulkon Capital

        “Alex is gonna take the game with Sydney Leroux.” She’s deluded.

  • slowburner

    A legendary player going out on top. Brava!

  • Steglitz49

    Can one assume that she wanted to discuss it with the President before she went public?

    Took a bit of the shine off the visit to the White House though, didn’t it?

    • dw

      Yeah, I was going to say that Abby at least gave the team a couple hours of team glory, before it went to Abby glory.

      • Steglitz49

        Having waited this long, she could have left it till tomorrow. Not a class act.

        • dw

          Just so.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe there are even bigger news about to come and Abby realized she had to get in first?

        • The one time I agree with Steg. Classic Abby to take a huge day for the USWNT – the met the President and what a damn good speech on his part too in which he plugged female sports/athletes and called out a number of individual players – and make sure she entirely dominates the news cycle.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you, anonymous.

  • Jersey Shore Rises

    This may be the first thread that we all agree on…. Congrats on an amazing Career.

  • HOFCToDi

    For those who have not seen these videos.

    An insight into Abby Wambach, before the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.

    youtube.com/watch?v=4kmMLNhXiGA

    An insight into Abby Wambach, after the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.

    youtube.com/watch?v=RQD_Q53lHjk

    • FawcettFan14

      Abby’s love letter to the game of soccer, her teammates, to the WNT, and to its fans. It was a beautiful soliloquy.

  • skybolt

    Nothing personal against Rampone, but I really hope she announces her retirement from international play next. Even if she’s capable of playing the CB position at the age of 41 I’m not sure if Ellis could risk selecting her on the 18-person roster due to recent injury woes that typically come with age.

    • AlexH

      I think Rampone has a chance at being one of the top 3 CB for the Olympics. Because I am in the “Win the Olympics at all costs without regards to player development” camp I am in favor of Rampone sticking around until the Olympics or until a younger player proves to be superior.

      • skybolt

        The problem is not so much her skill set, but can she stay healthy throughout the tournament at the age of 41. If I was a betting man I’d say no. This was the same issue with Boxx at the 2012 Olympics and 2015 WC.

        • AlexH

          Well that’s part of what Rampone has to prove. I’m not saying that she should be on the OG team. I’m just saying that after all is said and done she very well may be our 3rd best option at CB so she shouldn’t quit. A lot will depend on her health, luck and the health and luck of other players.

          • skybolt

            I’d like to be as optimistic as you, but even if she’s 100% healthy before the Olympics start, I feel that at the age of 41 one little nick during practice and she’s out the whole tournament due to a minor hamstring injury, which other younger players could recover from in a much shorter time. With only 18 players making the Olympic roster, the last thing I want to hear is an older player picking up a minor injury that would likely sideline them for the entire tournament. We saw it happen with her at the WC and with Boxx in the 2012 Olympics and 2015 WC.

          • Lorehead

            They are allowed to bring alternates.

          • skybolt

            But can’t use them once the tournament starts.

          • JL

            In the Olympics, if a player is injured badly enough that they wouldn’t be able to play for the remainder of the tournament, they can in fact be replaced by one of the alternates even after the competition starts. It’s only in the WC that rosters are set in stone once a team begins play.

          • Steglitz49

            I am in the Lauren Holiday camp.

            Now that the veterans have gotten the world cup they so desperately lusted after, the sooner they leave the better.

    • My2cents

      I think she will. I think they saved Rampone for last, since she has been with the National team longest. Make sense to do it that way.

  • conflicted

    Much as Rick wants to celebrate he is haunted by two thoughts. Who do blame for Press not being played/ what if Abby Favres and comes ?

    • dw

      Yeah let’s not take any Favre-esque comeback off the table yet. Good point.

    • HOFCToDi

      Not now and wrong thread to post this crap.

      • just shut up for once

        Don’t ever make a comment about inappropriate posts!

        • HOFCToDi

          Troll somewhere else.

          • ummm

            Not a troll post… people have been almost unanimously complaining about Abby for a variety of reasons on these boards for over a year. It’s funny how she retires and now we are all her best friends…

          • HOFCToDi

            The NYRick – Christen Press pathetically incessant whine fest does not belong within the comment section of this article.

          • JL

            There’s a thing called being respectful of someone who has given everything they could to a team for a very long time and is deciding to walk away.. You can be happy that a player is retiring and yet still have the decency to not be rude about them.

          • how’d u get that?

            Isn’t conflicted’ s comment a dig at Rick, not Wambach?

          • morSOC

            What’s really pathetic is that comment is having fun at Rick, while as soon as this article was up a group, including the Swedish creep, immediately starting bashing Abby for stealing the team’s White House glory. No one mentioned any inappropriateness then.

          • Steglitz49

            She did and it was behaviour unbecoming of a legend.

  • ladywing

    I will always be grateful for what Abby Wambach has done for women’s futbol and physically powerful women in general.
    Enjoy your life Abby, you earned it.

  • Ethan

    Congratulations to Abby Wambach for a great career! Her 2004 and 2012 Olympics and her 2007 and 2011 World Cup performances were very good and influential, and she was willing to accept a less influential role in the end at the 2015 WC. Add in her club performances, and she was a very good leader and player, especially in her prime, who I hope enjoys her life/career after playing professional football.

  • Recoveredamishman

    Never been a fan of Abby, but got to give her props on a great career and being a fierce competitor. In her honor, I hope the USWNT also retires “Abby ball.” It just wouldn’t be the same without her..

    • AlexH

      Father time may have caught up with Abby, but “Abby ball” lives. Muscles and wheels is the way to go.

      Rule 1: Make sure your team is bigger, faster, stronger than all possible competition.

      Rule 2: Add as much skill as you can get without violating Rule 1.

      Rule 3: Never apologize for winning ugly.

      • TsovLoj

        It won us a Cup when everyone expected the technical teams to triumph.

        • AnotherGuest

          The US didn’t exactly play Abby ball from the China game on. They advanced the ball through short passes on the wings to generate crossing opportunities and set piece chances. It was a very different style of play compared with the 2012 olympic team.

          • dw

            Um, generating crosses and set pieces IS Abby-ball.

          • AnotherGuest

            Abby ball is skipping the midfield in transition and kicking long balls to the forwards from defense. Alex’s and Abby’s flick ons for example. Sending crosses in from end line is direct play and chance generation which can be seen in every teams style of play including France and Brazil.

          • AnotherGuest

            And Germany and Japan

          • dw

            I hate to break it to you, but I could have been the one to actually coin the phrase in the lead up to WWC11. You describe “American Soccer”, direct play from the back to the forwards, which wasn’t a huge part of Abby-ball until Alex arrived. Abby-ball is playing the flanks, going endline and crossing the ball in the direction of Abby, or failing that, earning corners, again with the intent to serve into Abby. What Abby ball did, in return for its effectiveness, is hobble the US system in its ability or even desire to move the ball up the center of the pitch. Once Alex came on board, that trend was only exacerbated. You have Abby ball specialists like HAO who all they’ve done for 10 years is run to the corner flag and cross. (To a lesser extent Pinoe, who is more versatile).

          • Steglitz49

            We can agree that it is neither Total Football nor Tikitaka

          • dw

            Agreed.

          • AnotherGuest

            Long balls to players down the flank is not how the US played either. That type of soccer has been around for more than half a century. Long before HAO or Wambach were even born.

          • Terry Lash

            Yes, but I think the difference is that the USA basically had a single target: Abby’s head. Other teams typically had multiple targets in the box and not only heads.

          • AnotherGuest

            Fair enough.

          • dw

            Pfft. I didn’t say long balls down the flanks. Whatever you may or may not think, Abby ball has always focused on delivering the ball to Abby’s head, primary crosses and corners, crosses and corners, lather, rinse, repeat.

          • AnotherGuest

            It still was not the style of play that won the WC which included overlaping outside backs and lots of passing triangle on the flanks. The 2015 team played very different from the 2011 team or the teams that came before them which was my original point.

          • dw

            Ah. In this, you are correct. It was not Abby ball that won WWC15. I see the primary difference being the low driven cross, vs. the high cross to Abby. All the radical stuff that had been failing (JE’s asymmetric/hybrid 4-3-3) yielded to a simpler system, that in a lot of ways, looked like Abby ball without Abby. Even going forward from WWC, the low driven ball has been a staple scoring opportunity generator.

        • mockmook

          The USA doesn’t get enough credit for their own level of technical play (when they are in the groove).

      • dw

        Carli’s Law: Never try to beat a team technically if you can crush them physically.

        • AlexH

          “Carlita’s Way”

  • HOFCToDi

    Abby Wambach impersonations

    youtube.com/watch?v=PbLNXhUu2RY

  • AlexH

    Greatest player in US history.

    She gets most of her accolades from scoring goals but she was pretty much perfect in every facet of the game. I used to point her out to my girls whenever she was in the TV picture without the ball just to show them how a truly great soccer player moves when nobody pays attention.

  • kernel_thai

    Not surprised. This was about losing that great competitive spirit and not being able to play up to her own expectations. Congratz and good luck on whatever she tackles next.

  • Evevic

    Her scoring record is gonna stand a while. I don’t anyone breaking it any time soon. Good luck to her.

    • dw

      Not many in with a chance here. Maybe Hegerberg, who’s scored 23 before Abby had 1. Not being an American really hurts her chances. And she’ll need about 15 more years to have a chance. #ChasingAbby

      • Calci0

        Yeh, other teams will have to play a few more games to give individuals a chance. The one thing that helps Euro squads is the Euro’s and all the Qualifying games.

        • dw

          And all the WWC quallies, too. Funky Cold Meidema has 19 and she’s still a teenager.

          • Steglitz49

            European teams usually do not play victory tours against tomato-cans.

            Also, when you see the response and engagement of the fans and players around the world to the report that Johan Cruyff has lung cancer, you realize that winning is not everything always.

          • dw

            Right, remember that only USA makes money on home friendlies. So why can’t any UEFA team make a profit on a home friendly? Trust me, if any one across the pond could figure out how to make money, you’d see a proliferation of tomato can friendlies. Then you’d see higher salaries, increased attendance at league games… All the things you want for WoSo in Europe, are much more linked to the Tomato Can friendly than they are to Cruyff and his unfortunate diagnosis. Cancer sucks.

          • Steglitz49

            11,224 people turned out yesterday evening (ie a midweek game) to watch Sweden play Denmark in a Euro qualifier.

            We shall see how many turn out at the end of November to see Germany play England in a friendly. Last time they played it was at Wembley and about 45,000 tickets were sold, this being the capacity that the FA agreed to cap Wembley at because of repair works on train and tube lines for the stadium.

            I very much doubt that people in Europe would bother to go a watch a women’s tomato-can friendly match even if the tickets were free. It is meant to be a beautiful game, not a slaughter.

          • dw

            It’s all about money Steg, sorry. I think the limiting factors are the sizes and populations of the countries. I mean in small UEFA nations, if you hold 2 friendlies, one at each end of the country, chances are that all who would be inclined to go, will get there. Then you’re asking them to attend multiple times a year, whereas USWNT can go to like 30 more cities where they haven’t played in 10+ years, even with all the games, and get big gate numbers every time.

          • Terry Lash

            Yes, but another advantage the USA has is winning OG and now WWC allowing the victory tours. Attendance in other countries would probably be higher if they were celebrating a major international victory.

          • dw

            True, USA benefits greatly from tourney wins, but this time around we definitely would have had a profitable “farewell” tour in the event we lost. So the tour would have been on win or lose.

          • Steglitz49

            Might not have worked the second time round. Once bitten, twice shy.

          • Steglitz49

            Yes and no. You risk diluting and demeaning the product.

            The size and population of the US, not least with its big conurbations, means that you can run these tours. It says something, not necessarily positive, that people are prepared to turn out and pay to watch the WNT knock down straw-teams.

            Europe is, well understood, a whole sea of countries, large and small. Thus, as you type, there is not the population base for a 12 match tour in most if any country. Maybe there will be one one fine day.

            Instead Europe have to make do with its European qualifying games and the Euros themselves and this year 4 countries have to play-off to go to Rio. At least 11,224 turned out to watch Sweden play Denmark, which must be counted them for merit.

            There is, of course, the Champions League for the club teams and their fans and the domestic cup ties.

          • Calci0

            Well Miedema will have to increase her rate. Wambach had a rate of .73 GAG. Miedema is at .70 and Hegerberg is only at .55 GAG.Which just goes to show how dominate she was. Unless there is another Marta out there that can play in a ton of games, I think the record will stay intact for awhile.

          • dw

            Double check that, Abby was only at 16 goals in 27 caps compared to Miedema’s 19. And agewise, Miedema is 19 ahead. Hegerberg is behind but I think can become a lot more prolific, especially once Herlovsen retires and should she become the attacking focus. Miedema will not benefit from W-EURO quallies because they host, but Hegerberg will, and can possibly rack up an impressive tally.

          • Calci0

            I was using Wambach’s all time tally. Take Sinclair, she also started young (17) and had 20 goals at 27 caps! It’s hard to maintain such a high rate.

          • dw

            Also note that at least one of them, possibly both will be shut out of OG16.

    • Michelle

      If Alex Morgan hadn’t suddenly become injury prone, she would’ve broken it by the end of her career. She still could, but there’s less of a chance now.

      • Steglitz49

        Alex does not need to break it.

    • John

      Christine Sinclair has 155 goals. She’s the most likely.

      • Guest

        If Sinc played in the US she would have been the top forward and scored more than Wambach. As it stands I don’t think she has enough support around her or enough left in her tank to get it done.

  • AMJ

    During a work break at an internship in the summer of 2011 I took a look at ESPN.com and noticed that the Women’s World Cup was being televised. I barely knew anything about women’s pro soccer, save for the few matches I had seen in college, so I found an online stream and tuned in.

    Two weeks later I got my parents, soccer fans to the core from Mexico, to sit down and watch the quarterfinal match vs. Brazil on TV. They were losing with seconds to go and, well, you know the rest. After the match was over my dad, who I don’t think had ever seen a women’s soccer match before in his life, said “damn, that was a great game.” And later that night I caught my mom watching the late night replay on ESPN.

    Say what you will about what Wambach has done this year, but a lot of people in this country started tuning into women’s soccer because of her and THAT goal. Thanks for a phenomenal career, Abby.

    • Terry Lash

      Thanks for the positive story.

    • nwslfan

      came up off the beach on vacay to watch that Brazil game. It was the greatest, most emotional game I had ever watched. Glad Wambach went out a champion.

  • HOFCToDi

    Abby Wambach goes out as a winner.

    youtube.com/watch?v=G4zLHV8Ycco

  • Elaine

    I knew this day would come and I welcome this announcement, but sill feel a lump in my throat. Congratulations to Abby Wambach for her accomplishments and contributions to the women’s game. She is a legend.

  • Rdalford

    Great player, great career, wish Abby all the best for whatever future she chooses.

  • GT

    One of the best, if not the best of all time. Congratulations and God Bless!

    • HOFCToDi

      The best of the US Soccer Hall of Famers:

      Akers
      Fawcett
      Foudy
      Hamm
      Lilly
      Overbeck

      Add Wambach to the list.

  • NYRick

    Well let’s see. My Mets are actually in the World Series with Game 1 tonight and Abby announces her retirement on the same day??!!! I feel like a kid on Christmas morn when I was seven.

    In all seriousness, congrats and high praise for the career to one of the greatest female athletes this country ever produced. She has her legacy and really needs no praise from me (especially me on here) or really anyone for that matter. I know greatness when I see it and she did more for soccer in this country than just about anyone, male or female. Didn’t always agree with her methods, but what do I know. But…it was time. It was more than time and I’m happy for her that she finally realized it. Wishing her well in her retirement and hopefully she continues to promote WoSo in the most favorable manner.

    • Silver Frost

      Is Rampone far behind? She’s old enough to be Sonnett’s mother.

      • Cc W

        Again, I hope that she takes the opportunity to get her send off. It would be sad for her not to get the standing O in one of these last few games. If she is left off the OG squad, she won’t get the chance. It would be crazy for CR and Abby to retire in the last game of the victory tour.

        • john

          I see your point, but postulate that Rampone may well be a player, who doesn’t need a send off. She may just prefer to retire.

      • dw

        Rampone will stay on through OG. Someone has to make the roster selection.

        • Dillon77

          I wonder if there’s a chance she could go into coaching (SkyBlue), which would preclude the OG. She’s done it before with SB and the living arrangements for her would be optimal.

          If not, agree that she’ll stay on for OG, then retire. At that point, the Sonnetts and Rocarros can get their chances to join Beck, JJ, etc.

  • HOFCToDi

    World’s All-Time Leading Scorer Abby Wambach Announces Retirement

    ussoccer.com/stories/2015/10/27/18/45/151027-wnt-abby-wambach-announces-retirement

    “CHICAGO (Oct. 27, 2015) – Abby Wambach, the leading scorer in the history of international soccer and one of the world’s all-time greatest players, has announced her retirement.

    Wambach, 35, will end a spectacular 15-year international career that began in September of 2001 at the age of 21 when she debuted against Germany. She currently has 252 caps, which is fifth all-time in U.S. history, and 184 goals, far and away the most scored by any man or woman in international soccer.”

  • Futbol5

    Congratulations to Abby. I’m so glad she made the right decision.

  • guest

    Abby, sky blue needs a coach ?

    • GT

      Let’s not get carried away.

  • JN West

    Thank you Abby. Glad you get to retire as a World Cup champ.

  • Lord Otter-Blotter

    She’s alluded once or twice to wanting to have a life outside of soccer, but I sure hope she doesn’t mean to disappear from the public eye completely. She’s such a lovely person, I’d hate for her to just go away. But the time is right to bring her playing career to a close. And a hearty congratulations to her for going out on top!

    • Steglitz49

      Coaching &7or sports politics/administration are two obvious avenues.

      She could follow in the footsteps of Liedholm and Cruyff or prefer the path of Platini (but, preferably, keep her paws out of the cookiejar).

      Or, she could become President of the USA?

      • Lord Otter-Blotter

        I’d be happy with any or all of the above.

  • Bulkon Capital

    Good riddance .The agony is finally over.

    • Calci0

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I think more tact would be considered regardless of how things ended……

      • ladywing

        Thank you, I was trying to think of a tactful way to say something similar but was to angry.

    • AlexH

      Yes Abby should have left earlier, but seriously who among us wouldn’t have done the exact same thing if they were in Abby’s shoes.

  • xanthophobe

    Regardless of how I felt about Abby in 2015, but I’m grateful for all her contributions to this team and congratulate her on a remarkable career. Her goal against Brazil is my favorite sports memory of all time.

  • Calci0

    1:37:47 It doesn’t give me the same chills, as Darke’s call, but I enjoy it nonetheless!!!!!

    https://youtu.be/yjrvi6hP-Ms?t=1h37m47s

  • LadiesinCleats4

    She’s the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. Abby took the reigns from the 99ers and carried the USWNT during the lean years when the public lost interest, and shared it with Alex in recent years. She has been an amazing ambassador for the game and for female athletic competition. Abby Wambach is the GOAT.

    • Steglitz49

      Marta might beg to disagree, as might Sawa (not to forget Miyama).

    • John

      I’d still put Marta and Michelle Akers ahead of her. I’ve never seen a will to win in a Women’s player like the one Michelle had. Plus she was playing with a serious, debilitating illness.

  • Movement

    Breaking News that I also received recently:
    Expect Alex Morgan to retire at the end of next year, after the 2016 Olympics.
    She is leaning on that decision as of right now. Health, spending more time with her husband, while also wanting to have children are the key factors in that decision. She would most likely participate in the Victory Tour if they win Gold. Also Morgan has made close to $10 million in the past 4 years combined, including endorsements. Her financial future is already secured.

    • Steglitz49

      This is not news. It is mean.

      The fact that Alex might take a leaf out of ARod’s book after Rio should surprise noone and has been discussed for a while, also her injuries.

      As for the income you describe, that too is well known, and is, of course, a fraction of what Serena Williams makes and probably less than Bjorgen, Johaug and, even, Kalla make.

    • skybolt

      So why don’t most male athletes making millions of dollars per year retire after winning a championship, to enjoy the rest of their lives outside the sport? Perhaps it’s because they still enjoy playing the sport, or want to accomplish more than winning just a couple of titles, or perhaps they just want to make more money. Heck, I’m sure Dwayne wade had $10 million after winning his first championship with Miami. He could’ve retired then and there. Of course he decided not and went on to win 2 more titles with my Miami and now has 10 times that amount in his bank account. Just because Morgan is 26 doesn’t necessarily mean she wants to retire soon and have multiple babies. I think one of the reasons why Lauren retired at such a young age is because she wants to have a lot of kids. The more kids you want the earlier you start. I’d also be extremely surprised if Morgan took a year off after the Olympics to start a family. It would seem really odd after transferring to Orlando from a Portland club where she was mostly injured, to just play half a year and then take another extended leave. More likely than not I see her playing thru the 2019 WC and perhaps the 2020 Olympics before calling it quits. At that time her husband will be at the end of his career as well.

      • Steglitz49

        It does you credit that you leap to Alex’s defense.

        None of the other inadequate types who weigh in here about inappropriate comments can be bothered. I can only surmise that is is envy. To them Alex is fair game because she has been so successful. Pathetic losers.

        Having got that off my chest, one has to be honest and type that ARod is a good model for Alex. Oth, Alex might do like Gold-Lena did at 25 and Annemarie (not Press, the other one) did at 27. Granted, Marit waited till 35 but maybe that was not voluntarily?

        • Terry Lash

          No one should take Movement’s posting seriously. He’s/she’s pulling your leg, or he/she is nuts.

          • Steglitz49

            Nuts! as in the Battle of the Bulge?

  • newsouth

    let her coach in the u system or something if she wants to stay with ussoccer. don’t let her near the senior squad. also, mitts and osborne have the tv gig. don’t take away their lovely time for wambach!

    • newsouth

      DON’T EVEN TRY, FOX SPORTS!

      • Steglitz49

        Gentlemen prefer blondes but marry brunettes. I have not the foggiest what ladies do.

        • skybolt

          Not sure, but the colors gold and green come to mind. I’m only joking of course! 🙂

          • Steglitz49

            Australia? South Africa?

            I thought diamonds were a girl’s best friends.

        • ladywing

          I’m sure you don’t.

          • Steglitz49

            I note that you can’t be bothered to defend Alex but never mind. To each their own.

  • mskillens

    Congrats on her retiring. That being said…….Okay little girl entering……… screw her! screw her! how dare she leave us!!!! why does she have to leave us??? she had the greatest header in the game. she was a great woman, why does she have to leave us??????

  • Nicole C.

    Here’s one of my favorite videos: an interview with Abby and Sinc about 6 years ago.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XKdJ37yPfHU

    • Steglitz49

      This is funny and charming. Thanks for digging it out of the archives.

  • Movement

    184 goals scored.
    Will anyone ever break her record?
    If so, when? And by who?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL9Gnwyntkk

    • Terry Lash

      Eventually records are broken. To break Wambach’s probably will require someone who starts playing young and who plays for a team that provides the support and opportunities that Wambach had. Starting young is hard in the US, where most players do not join the NT until after college. From that perspective maybe someone in Germany or France will be the next record holder. Brazil might be another possibility if the country finally supports its women’s national team.

      • AlexH

        It also depends how many games are played. The US team plays a lot of games because they make money from them.

        • Terry Lash

          Yes, and the USWNT went out of its way to set up Wambach to score goals in easy games.

          • Steglitz49

            To whom shall we compare her?
            Lotta — 80 goals in 154 NT but 248 in 277 club games
            Sawa — 83 in 204 and 151 in 350 club
            Marta — 92 in 95 and 243 in 291 club
            Prinz — 128 in 214 and 282 in 282 club

            Abby — 184 in 252 NT and 70 in 116 for club

            Marta’s rate is little short of amazing. I had not realized that Sawa’s GpG was so low.

            Then there is Nia Küntzer, the German defender, who only scored 2 goals in 34 matches for Germany but one of those was the Golden Goal of the 2003 Final!

          • Calci0

            From a int. goal scoring avg perspective Marta is truly special!!!!

            As to the others club records. I don’t know how much weight I can put with them. Cosmina Dusa has 254 goals in 96 club games. Different leagues have different levels of competition.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily and forsooth.

            We are always told how uneven many of the foreign leagues are compared to the NWSL but you could level that accusation in the international arena too.

            Sawa’s low rate is the one that sticks out — as does her Zlatanesque side-heel to level the 2011 Final. In a sense she comapres to Charlotte Kalla who does not have that many victories to her name but they have all been amazing and spectacular — and they both have that generous spirit and glamor to carry them off.

          • Calci0

            Well on the international level the difference is more so just in games played. Just about all the major NT’s play their fair share of teams that aren’t quite on the same level. But US league play has shown to be more competitive than most Euro leagues.

          • dw

            It’s the lack of games that Brazil plays that stands out for me here. Marta will get 100. L8 maybe. Sawa probably not. Possible for Marta to get 100 on home soil at OG. Lotta benefits from a lot of total tomato cans at the bottom of D1F. (The same teams Hegerberg is running up this year). Also pointed out that games were specifically scheduled and played in a manner to get Abby to the record.

          • Steglitz49

            We are back to Terry Lash and AlexH

          • John

            Christine Sinclair – 155 goals in 228 games for Canada is the most likely to break Abby’s record (of players currently still playing).

          • Steglitz49

            Remembered for her loss of temper.

            As you type
            — 155 in 228 and 61 in 132 for club
            Christine is the nearest to breaking Abby’s record and the simplest way is to find 25 tomato-cans to slaughter.

            How many more games has Marta in her? Not enough, I presume.

          • John

            CONCACAF Should give her a few goals. Algarve Cup, Olympics as well in the next few months. If the Canucks line up a few Tomato Cans as well, with the explicit aim of having her one-up Wambach, she could get it done in 2 years.

          • Steglitz49

            Canada plays in the Cyprus Cup traditionally, which probably is easier than the Algarve cup.

            I guess Marta would need 6-7 years at least which won’t work.

            But, Chris’s club record is nothing special. Did she play with the wrong crowd?

        • Calci0

          This, the opportunities the USWNT has just numbers wise, favors a USWNT player.

          • Steglitz49

            Marta will always be the greatest.

          • Calci0

            I guess you can look at it like I look at NFL running backs. Wambach = E. Smith. Marta = B. Sanders. She may not end up with the big number, but there is no doubt about her talent!

          • Steglitz49

            At least neither will not vanish without a trace like Doug Williams seems to have!

  • AlexH

    So this is off topic but nonetheless important an there does not seem to be a better place to comment.

    To celebrate the retirement of Lori Chalupny my daughter (U-12)got a concussion playing in a competitive youth soccer tournament this past Sunday. She is going to be fine but the disturbing thing is that while other parents were calling to offer moral support it came out that an absolutely shocking number of goalies are getting hurt. Another goalie at our club got hospitalized that very same tournament and the club goalie an age above my daughter has already had 2 concussions and had facial fractures in a game a few weeks ago.

    As shocked as I was to hear all of this, I wanted to see if our club is just cursed or if this was widespread so I googled “Concussions in soccer by position” and got pretty much no good information. This in and of itself is outrageous because if the powers that be are really interested in minimizing concussions that little piece of data should be known and widely disseminated.

    I don’t have any evidence but I am going with my gut and saying that goalkeeping in youth soccer is extremely dangerous and parents need to think long and hard before letting their kids play that position. The reason I think it is so dangerous at the youth level is that often teams are mismatched so that traffic is all one way and that defenders often make mistakes and mis-clears that require goalies to put themselves in jeopardy.

    Furthermore the refs don’t seem to go out of their way to protect players on the ground and seem to ref in a manner identical to that of adult games. The leagues and tournaments also don’t seem take measures to protect the goalie.

    I think this is a very serious problem and if anything derails woso in this country it will be this. It is only a matter of time before somebody gets killed or permanently crippled.

    • mockmook

      “It is only a matter of time before somebody gets killed or permanently crippled.”

      Happens all the time in American handegg.

      Wish your daughter has a speedy recovery — I assume she is already fitted for some head protection.

      ——

      BTW, what did you do for your defensive dilemma you mentioned here a while back, and how well did it work?

      • AlexH

        Thankfully I only have girls so I don’t have to worry about hand egg.

        I don’t think I am going to let my daughter play GK in competitive leagues any more. In addition to the concussion, her nose was broken (and another GK, beyond those I mentioned in my original post, got some teeth knocked out that the tournament) which would happen with or without head gear.

        What we are going to do, and I think this is the safest thing for any young aspiring GK, is to put her back in her rec league and to just pay for a private coach to work on her technique (it actually works out to be cheaper as well). She can go back to competitive soccer when the defenders are organized enough not to give up a dozen breakaways per game and the attackers understand not to plow into the keeper.

        As for my original D scheme a few weeks ago. I went with 3 defenders that knew what they were doing rather than add a 4th inexperienced defender. It seemed to work well enough.

        • john

          You mentioned private keeper training. When I first read your comment I wondered if the injured girls were specialists or just taking their turn so to speak. In my experience the more training to increase muscle memory and mental understanding the safer the keeper becomes. Granted she can’t control the opposition or officials. Sounds like your plan will address the part you can control.

      • AlexH

        Hey mock, I tried my back 3 again (once again a defender had to miss a game) and it worked very well. I think 3 defenders in synch work better than 3 plus a 4th wheel. The only downside is that adding the 3rd attacker worked a bit too well and my outside mids started pushing up to join the party as did my D mid. There were some pretty scary counterattack action happening. Next time I do this I am going to have to tell the parents of my D mid to take away her video games if she wanders too far forward.

        • Steglitz49

          The great Even Pellerud preferred to play 3-5-2. Thus your backline of 3 has the blessing of high authority.

        • mockmook

          Thanks for the update.

          Are you using a 3-4-3, or the much more awesome mockian 3-5-2? 🙂

    • ladywing

      I think head gear for soccer needs to happen BEFORE somebody gets crippled, if that hasn’t happened already.
      I understand your anxiety about your child’s health. Youth soccer isn’t the same as adult soccer.
      Adults have fully formed bones and the muscles to protect those bones, and brains
      I am glad you raised this issue.
      I’ve had a couple of concussions. It’s scary.
      Lucky for her you care.

      • AlexH

        I think the biggest difference that makes goal keeping so dangerous at the your level is that young defenders give up a lot of breakaways and failed clearances that puts goal keepers in a position to have to make dangerous saves. Couple that with over eager kids and lazy refs and there is a huge problem.

        Head would be a plus but I think the way the players are trained and the games are officiated need to improve.

        • Steglitz49

          This is true but what can you do in the meantime? Buy head gear and teach your daughter some survival skills, like: “My friend over there is paying.”

    • john

      I coached, scouted, and watched youth and high school soccer consistently for 25 years and still do occasionally. I recall a spleen injury for a keeper, a defender who broke his arm, and an attacking player with an head injury. Obviously, there were various twists, bruising, sprains, etc. Maybe I was blessed, maybe just the sheer increase in players and games accounts for what you sense is a dramatic increase. All the best for your daughter!

    • FootballNowAndAlways

      Besides the obvious headgear solution, a rule change such as this one could help:

      A player should not attempt to engage the ball

      1. If any or both of the goalkeeper’s hands are already in contact with the ball,
      2. If the goalkeeper is on the pitch and making a play for the ball with his/her hands,
      3. No player may attempt to play a ball the goalkeeper is attempting to play with the hands.

      The above conditions will not apply if the player is in possession of the ball. I.e., player has the ball at his or her feet. And condition 1 will still apply if the ball is not securely held by the GK. His/her hand(s) need only be touching the ball. And condition 3 may be redundant because it might already be covered by the “high foot” rule. Just a thought.

      So if these conditions were in force, the collision that injured Shea Groom would not have been ruled against Groom because she tackled the GK with her foot while she was standing. But the collisions that occurred between Dalton and another player I can’t recall would have been called against the player because Dalton’s hands were already in contact with the ball (had it firmly in her possession as a matter of fact).

      Jazmine Reeves, if memory serves me correctly, was involved in a frightening collision with a goalkeeper during her college career that resulted in a serious injury to the GK. GK slid to make the play with her hands and Reeves went in with her foot. Many injuries to GKs result from such collisions.

      If I may add something more, the level of skill is also another factor. More skilled players tend to be more responsible tacklers and would generally take action to avert potentially-dangerous collisions. Rather than discouraging from daughter from goalkeeping, you might want to simply make sure she only plays with highly-skilled players.

      Concussions are a bigger problem with girls than they are with boys. Some opinions have implicated the weight of the ball itself and the whiplash effect it produces on girls when some of them head it (girls tend to have longer and more slender necks). A solution is lighter balls, although it doesn’t appear that the ball is the culprit in this situation you have described about your daughter.

      • Guest

        Jump balls between keepers and players going for headers are never going to be eliminated. It takes far too much away from the game if you say players can’t challenge balls that keepers can possibly make a play on.

        • FootballNowAndAlways

          You’ve got a point there. I thought it might be too broad. Those plays have always been dangerous to me though. As dangerous to the field player as it is to the goalie. I have seen cases where field players basically went for the ball like Clyde the glide while the goalie came out and the field player’s momentum basically knocked the GK to the turf.

          However these airborne challenges pose a great risk to the field players as well. I have seen them punched and basically tacked like NFL players by goalies all in the name of making a play for the ball.

          But I do agree that it is probably too important to the game to remove.

        • AlexH

          True but the rule could be only for youth levels and phased out for older kids. If it is OK to say use fewer players and smaller fields at the youth level then why not add some rules for safety? Hell we allow more subs even up to the NCAA level and that changes the game more than any of the suggestions made above. I don’t think 12 year olds necessarily to play by the exact same rules as the adults.

          • Guest

            Thats a good idea, I agree with your comment about 12 year olds. Maybe a couple years before High School age would be a compromise.

          • Steglitz49

            If you watch the 1981 Canada Cup final — the one in which Gretzky, LaFleur, Bossy, Trottier etc were made to look 3rd rate — you will be amazed how many Canadians played without helmets. The USSR wore helmets, of course.

            Noone today expects male hockey to be played without helmets. I can’t remember if visors are mandatory for the men. The men need not wear the full wire basket protectors that the ladies must wear but most if not all wear plexi visors.

            I have a memory that helmets came in in hockey in Europe about 1964 but can’t remember when they became mandatory over there.

            No reason why lady goalies can’t look like Cech on the field.

    • Steglitz49

      Petr Cech wears head protection. He has done so since a head injury. With Neuer of Germany, Cech he is one of the very best male keepers in the world, only the likes of Buffon get close.

      If Cech wears headgear because of injury, why can’t we make it mandatory for female goalies to wear it at all times if not in all places?

      What is so macho about not wearing it? It is not as if the soccer pitch is the disco floor. Granted, her pulling power would be down on the dance floor and in the bar.

      In short: buy her a head protector but not a set of body paint.

  • FootballNowAndAlways

    Hate to speak ill of the retired, but Abby’s legacy could have been enriched even more if she had not skipped this past NWSL season. That action belied the constant chorus we hear about how NTers relish their responsibilities as role models to little girls. The biggest gift any NTer could give to aspiring female soccer players everywhere, IMO, would be doing their best to help the NWSL succeed and grow into a viable and self-sustaining means of revenue for the young women aspiring to play soccer.

    And then there is this young woman in the photo below. Like one or two posters has mentioned, I think her retirement could have been announced on another day, not hours after an exhilarating and fun visit to the white house by the USWNT and a young woman whose joy at meeting the president was probably only equaled or maybe even exceeded by meeting her soccer idols. As it is, news of Abby’s retirement has more or less effaced this white house development. Her retirement was always going to take the soccer blogosphere and social media by storm. It could have been made on another occasion.

    • another guest

      re Hate to speak ill of the retired
      then don’t

      • FootballNowAndAlways

        Why don’t you point me to the other posts you’ve submitted under your generic moniker, so I can read your submissions filled with prayers for peace and goodwill for mankind?

  • Calci0

    Abby Wambach: Why I’m quitting football
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34673067

    • FootballNowAndAlways

      WAMBACH: “We make all of our money with our national team and for me I think that the more you can support your local club team whether it be in the united States or even abroad, the better the chances of women being able to close that disparity pay gap will be likely. And I’m excited to take that on as a challenge. It’s something that I am looking forward to in fact.”

      INTERVIEWER: is there grass roots support for the game…?

      WAMBACH: There is absolutely grass roots support for the game…

      The more you can support your local club team? A little too late for that now. The NWSL sure could have used your name recognition value this year.

      • Steglitz49

        According to Forbes, in 2014 Zlatan was the world’s 12th best paid athlete. He earned just over $40 million. (#11 was Manny Pacquiao according to Forbes.)

        I don’t know how much Abby earned in 2014 the but even if it was $5 million, there remains $35 millions to close the gap.

        • FootballNowAndAlways

          I am not disputing the yawning pay gap. That is self-evident. I am pointing out the fact that her stated commitment to supporting local teams rings rather hollow in light of her decision to skip league play this year.

          • Steglitz49

            The harsh reality is that winning the World Cup became an obsession with the Veterans. This is understandable. In Abby’s case, she realized that she could not manage a NWSL season and the WC. Because of her status, USSoccer granted her a dispensation.

            FIFA must have loved this. One of the biggest names in WoSo so lusting after the World Cup that her Olympic golds were like dung. Proof that the WC is the big cigar.

            Abby is right about the US women earning their big pay from playing for the NT. In Europe, the best paid players pay for the rich clubs — ie wealthy men’s clubs, except Frankfurt which is stand alone.

            Let’s not fool ourselves. The crew in NWSL teams earn a pittance which is just like their sisters in Europe and Japan. As for the Japanese players, to earn real money, they have to go abroad too. It is, however, much further from home.

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            The veterans became obsessed with winning the world cup because of the ridiculous practice of evaluating players’ careers partially due to the number of championships they win, rather than solely on their individual achievements. The practice is even worse in basketball.

            Wambach and some of the other players would never have felt compelled to vindicate their soccer careers with a world cup championship if the yolk of this unfortunate obligation had not been draped around their necks.

            What I fear will be lost amid the euphoria of winning the world cup is just how difficult the goal the soccer public set for these women was. Winning any championship, no matter how heavily favored you are, is anything but easy. Yet because this team delivered, the culture will continue to perpetuate itself. Whispers about the Olympic gold being a must have already started floating about. People handle disappointments with varying degrees of success. Not everyone is endowed with the psychological fortitude to handle the fallout from unmet expectations. Nobody should be made to feel that their career matters little if a specific title eludes them to retirement.

          • Steglitz49

            You type “due to the number of championships they win” but in this case the championship that mattered to them kept eluding them — in 2003, 2007 and 2011. Three times for the asking. On the ladies side, now the biggest name looks like being Marta.

            Neither Puskas nor Cruyff won the men’s WC in spite of playing in close finals. Puskas has a FIFA award named after him. The Grenoli never had a true chance because of professionals not being selected for the NT. By the time that absurd practice was abandoned, No had retired but Gre and Li had a go but lost in the final. Liedholm like Cruyff became an outstanding coach.

            Every player wants to win the World Cup. To play for the NT is a great honor (and a big earner in the US).

            The European countries and Japan have their leagues and the cups and, ultimately, the Champions league. Nevertheless, Germans are expected to win — and their ladies flunked it the last two times. Loser, weepers. At least FF won the Champions League but their coach is an Englishman!

          • guest

            Steg just read his fantasy partner’ s salary somewhere and he’s posting it on every article. It has nothing to do with any thread yet.

          • Steglitz49

            “the better the chances of women being able to close that disparity pay gap will be likely” — no doubt they will one day close that gap but when the gap between the best paid WoSo player to the not best paid BroSo player is $35 million, there is a long way to go.

            All soccer is local. USWNT players earn their big bananas from playing for the NT. Highly paid BroSos earn playing for their clubs.