On Wednesday, Abby Wambach played her final game with the United States Women’s National Team. It is difficult to put into words what Abby has come to mean to the sport of soccer and to the world. The superstar forward will hang up her cleats leaving behind an unforgettable legacy. Over the course of her career, Abby helped the University of Florida win its first National Championship title her freshman year, in 2012 she was named FIFA’s World Player of the Year, she has earned two Olympic gold medals (2004 and 2012), was named the Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2011 and has scored 184 goals in international play, the most by any man or woman player.
We chatted with Abby and asked her some of her favorites, where her inspiration comes from, what she plans to do following her stellar career and more. Her smile infectious as she joked and proceeded to ask us questions when we were finished with all of ours.
Abby has indeed left the game better than when she found it and has been a role model to so many girls and women around the world. We know that she will continue to be a voice for women in sports and will succeed in whatever comes next for this legend.
What is your favorite color?
Today, it’s blue.
What restaurant do you prefer to eat at?
Do you have a favorite movie?
When you were a kid, what was your favorite holiday?
One of my favorite holidays is the New Year. I always loved celebrating the New Year, even though I believe personally that any day can be your New Year’s resolution day, I always loved having some specific date that you could hold yourself accountable to something. You could look forward to it or look backwards on it and say ‘hey, what have I done’ or ‘gosh, look at how far I’ve come.’ I like that holiday.
Is there a band or musician you grew up listening to?
I grew up listening to Dave Matthews Band.
What cartoon did you enjoy watching when you were younger?
Who is your favorite athlete?
I think growing up Michael Jordan was because at that point when I was younger there really weren’t women’s soccer players to look up to but then it turned into Michelle Akers, April Heinrichs and Mia Hamm.
When you were a kid, what was your favorite book?
The Giving Tree because it’s a great story about giving and that really is, in my opinion, the essence of life. The more you give the more you will receive in kind.
What is your favorite animal?
A brown bear. I just saw one the other day so…
Did you have a favorite subject in middle school?
Math, surprisingly. I loved math. I was pretty good at it too and then I hit calculus in high school.
This summer the entire country tuned into the Women’s World Cup and were inspired by you and your team. When you turn on the television who do you look to and who inspires you?
I really turn on the television and watch people who do things that I can’t do, whether it be cooking a cool dish on the Food Network — that’s an embarrassing truth — or just watching people go out into the world and experience life. So to answer your question, my idols…my inspirations…are truly risk-takers: people who are willing to go outside of their own comfort zone because even in moments I’m scared to do that, even though I’m strong and powerful and confident. It’s not always easy to do and so I always get a lot of enjoyment out of watching people do that. And then my sisters and brothers — they’ve always taught me how to be my best self and I’ve learned a lot through their mistakes and their successes and kind of learned how I wanted to steer my life.
Do you have a motto or words that you live by?
My motto in life has been that you only live once. You better take advantage of this time because you don’t get a second chance at this. At least in my opinion.
What is your favorite way to stay active other than soccer and what do you like to do at the gym?
I really like to mountain bike. I haven’t been able to do that very much because of my career. I also like to play pick-up basketball. All things that I’ll get to do more of when I retire. I’ve never snowboarded and I hear that that’s really fun. I also like to do 10 or 15 minutes on each workout machine because it’s just long enough where it hurts but it’s not too long where you’re bored.
What is your pregame ritual like?
I have a bunch of weird things that I do that I would probably have to kill you if I told you…mostly I just kind of goof off. I’m serious in certain moments but I’m usually pretty laid back and want to dance around with my teammates and just get on a vibe, a similar vibe with my teammates so that we can go out and score ridiculous goals that you literally need to be on the same page as somebody else in that very moment in order to do so.
What would you like to do after you retire from soccer?
I would like to have my hand in many different pots, so to speak. I would love to be an influence on the FIFA Committee, to continually fight for women’s rights in soccer, I love to work with small businesses and startups and be able to be on the grassroots floor level and get in very early and see something grow out of nothing. Of course, I can coach, I could train, I could be a speaker, I could commentate, but I’m definitely going to steer my career post-soccer in a direction where I’ll be following my heart. I learned a valuable lesson that I love playing soccer and I grew to love it even more when I was able to turn it into a profession. So, that’s something I want to be able to do a second time around…find something that I love and that I’m passionate about and turn it into something that I can make my own profession.
Thank you Abby!