HARRISON, N.J. – Retired U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach – one of the most prolific soccer players in the world with a record 184 goals in 256 international appearances – has been selected for the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
The 38-year-old, who retired from the game after winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, was surprised by the news Saturday afternoon by her former teammate Julie Foudy after a sit-down interview with her.
“I was joking with my family this morning that (this honor) means that I’m now officially a has-been,” Wambach told reporters Sunday at the U.S. women’s team World Cup send-off match against Mexico. “This award is actually quite cool because it allows me to feel a little important once again.”
Wambach is set to be inducted Sept. 21 at the new hall building in Frisco, Texas, alongside former U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, who served from 2006 until last year.
“These individual awards have always paled in comparison to the relationships and championships I was able to be a part of,” Wambach said. “For sure the thing I miss the most about playing is the people and being down on the field.”
Wambach played in four World Cups, helping the U.S. win in 2015, was FIFA’s Women’s World Player of the Year in 2012 and earned Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2012. She won the Bronze Boot and Silver Ball at the 2011 World Cup.
“It’s been so unique and exciting watching this team grow over the last three years. They are just kind of getting started,” she said, adding that the focus now should be on the members of the current team and what they will accomplish in France next month.
“I think the whole idea with soccer is, score more than the other team, and it’ll just be really exciting to see how they will create goals,” she said. “I think this team, we haven’t even seen the potential they could get to.”
She added: “It’s been the honor of my life to be able to represent this country for so many years, and now it has become the honor of my future – and the rest of my life – to become its biggest fan.”
The American women beat Mexico 3-0 on Sunday afternoon. They head to Europe later this week for the Women’s World Cup as defending champions.
The U.S. is set to play Thailand for its opening match on June 11. All games can be watched live on Fox Sports.
By Lucia Suarez Sang