Abby Wambach announced on Tuesday that she will retire at the end of the year, playing her final game on Dec. 16 at the Superdome in New Orleans, La.
That will bring to an end a 15-year international career which saw Wambach rise to the top of the game, winning FIFA World Player of the Year in 2012 and winning her first World Cup earlier this year. It’s impossible to sum up Wambach’s career in just a few moments and this isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are some which stand out:
Abby Wambach graduates from Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, N.Y. She scored 142 career goals in six years playing varsity soccer, winning three Section V titles.
Then, as a freshman, Wambach helps lead Florida to its first and to date only NCAA title, beating two-time defending national champion North Carolina.
August 24, 2003: Founders Cup Golden Goal
At the time just a chirpy 23-year-old, Wambach scored what would turn out to be the last ball ever kicked in the WUSA when she won the Founders Cup (WUSA title) for the Washington Freedom. Fittingly, Mia Hamm was the first to jump on Wambach to celebrate.
July 19, 2009: Goal No. 100
Wambach scores her 100th international goal in Rochester, N.Y., just minutes from where she grew up. How fitting that she would do it at home, and against Canada, which had Christine Sinclair also vying to score her 100th goal first.
Nov. 5, 2010: Wambach’s head stapled on field
The subtitle says it all, doesn’t it? This would end up going down as the United States’ only loss to date in World Cup qualifying, but Wambach’s ultimate badass moment.
July 10, 2011: Equalizer vs. Brazil, WWC quarterfinal
This would turn out to be Wambach’s most famous goal, “saving the USA’s life” with what was at the time the latest goal in the history of a FIFA competition. The U.S. won the game in penalty kicks, avoiding its earliest-ever exit at a World Cup and eventually losing on penalty kicks to Japan in the final. The goal ignited a nation and started the groundswell of support for a team which is now very much in the mainstream.
June 20, 2013: Breaking Mia’s record
Abby Wambach scored four goals IN THE FIRST HALF to tie and then surpass Mia Hamm for the most goals in international soccer history. By the end of the night, it was Wambach with 159 goals and Hamm with 158.
July 5, 2015
Abby Wambach wins the World Cup. ‘Nough said.
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