Abby Wambach, who announced her retirement at age 35, will play her last match for the U.S. Women's National Team on Dec. 16 against China.
U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach, the leading scorer in the history of international soccer, has announced her retirement at 35 and in the wake of her first World Cup championship.
Wambach finishes her distinguished career with 252 USWNT appearances, fifth-most in U.S. history, and 184 goals, by some distance the most scored by either a man or women on the international stage.
She will play her final USWNT match on Dec. 16 against China in New Orleans as part of the ongoing Victory Tour exhibitions.
“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 the release. “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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Though the Reign acquired Wambach’s rights in the Sydney Leroux trade last winter, it was always unlikely that the forward would play for Seattle. Wambach had made known her intention to train on her own prior to the World Cup, and to shoulder the bulk of the national media attention in the aftermath of the team’s first title since 1999.
Wambach, who made her first USMNT appearance in 2001, retires having played in four Women’s World Cup tournaments. She won gold medals at both the 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics, netting the match-winning goal in extra time against Germany in Athens.
Characterized by her flair for the dramatic, Wambach is perhaps best known for her game-tying goal in the 122nd minute in a 2011 Women’s World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil. The Americans would reach that final but fall to Japan, finally breaking through against that same foe this summer in Canada.
“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,” Wambach said in the release. “It’s been an amazing, wonderful ride and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of my life brings.”