By Leander Schaerlaeckens
USA legend Abby Wambach recently disclosed to FOX Soccer that she wants to leave the women’s game in better shape than she found it when she decides to retire.
Here are some excerpts that didn’t make the final cut:
On the lack of playing time and repetitions between national team games because of the lack of a domestic professional league:
“It’s obviously difficult to get on the same page because we’re not together very often before these games. [Routine] is definitely not what we’re experiencing right now. And that’s a struggle; that’s a challenge. After the Olympics, you have to de-condition and that’s a huge part of coming back the next year without injuries. So this is a really hard time because you try to find the time to rest so that you’re fresh when the next season starts. But you also want to be fit enough so that you can accomplish the things that you set forth in this victory tour, which is winning games.”
On her childhood and her family, in which she is the youngest of seven children, born just 11 years apart:
“My family is a huge reason why I’ve been so successful in my life. My mom and dad, at a young age in my life, they knew that I’d be a good athlete and they always wanted to keep challenging me. They could tell. In my first three games on my first organized soccer team [when she was 4] I scored 27 goals, so they were like, ‘Okay, we need to harness this talent and make it something that can grow into something positive.’ They put me on teams with older boys. In order for me to reach my goals, being the very best on every team that I was on wasn’t going to be good for me.”
On life after her career and not being one-dimensional:
“I hope to continually have an impact on some level with the game but also to fulfill myself in other aspects. I’m not one-dimensional. I’ve never been one-dimensional. That’s something I try to relay to the kids that look up to me. You can’t just get stuck on one thing. You need to have focus and you need to have goals and you need to be driven and work hard. But life is long and you have to make so many different positive things happen in your life to really have a happy one. And it’s not easy, or else everyone would be happy.”
“I majored in at first business and then leisure service management and I have yet to complete my degree. I am very stubborn. And when I don’t want to do something, I won’t do it. And as I’ve grown older, not only do I realize I was immature but [dropping out to go pro] was also pretty insightful because I was going to learn stuff that I was never going to use and I’ve done so many things in the last 10 or 15 years ago I never thought I’d be doing. I never thought I’d be into the stock market and interested in finance. I would have never thought I’d be maybe interested in opening up my own restaurant. I’ve grown into not only an adult but somebody who really wants to learn about that stuff. I think I’m going to be one of those life-long learning people who keeps auditing classes and learning about stuff and who keeps educating myself. I love to be involved in new things. My attention definitely gets lost when I don’t enjoy something so my turnover rate of things I’m interested in is pretty high. But I’m trying new things. I feel as though I live my life completely to the fullest. I’m an extreme artist and will live on the edges of things, the edges of life, and then shut it down. I want to post-career do things I’ve not been able to do. Different things that really, really interest me.”
On being asked to pose for pictures:
“You get people who come to you and say, ‘I don’t mean to interrupt.’ Well, you are. For celebrities these days, it’s insane with new technology phones. Everybody always wants to take two pictures, instead of just one. Just in case. It’s always like, Okay, one more. People don’t realize that that could get to feeling annoying because if everybody gets to taking one more picture, that’s twice the time. So you have to be patient with the day and age that we live in.”
On making goalscoring look easy:
“Nobody ever said it was easy. Just because I’ve scored a lot doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s not even about the number, in terms of quantity. It’s a drive that’s within me that you’re the end product of a perfect play. Everything has to be perfect – the timing of five or six people, the timing of the body, communication, touches, the final pass. It’s a work of art. And to be able to literally be the one that seals the deal and finish that work of art is actually something to be recognized and noticed. And that is what I keep striving for. Every goal is totally different. Every single goal I’ve scored has been totally different. Not just because the personnel is different that is getting me to that area and allowing me to score that goal, or just a different situation or team. Never have I scored a goal and thought, ‘Ugh, this is getting old.’ Never does it get old. Ever.”
Catch the full interview here.