Wambach warming up for an international friendly match against Canada, September 2011
|Full name||Mary Abigail Wambach|
|Date of birth||June 2, 1980|
|Place of birth||Rochester, New York, United States|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|1994â€“98||Our Lady of Mercy High School|
|1998â€“2001||University of Florida|
|2013â€“2014||Western New York Flash||29||(17)|
I'm a pretty decent cook. I like to grill. I have a smoker that I love. I love me some steak. And I'll make a huge salad with a ton of vegetables.
I think I take on a little more responsibility when push comes to shove. I'm not scared to fail.
Sometimes if you have a coach or team-mates for too long, you get caught in certain routines. I think it's good to shake up things a little bit.
I have a unique ability to predict the flight of the ball, and my teammates have a unique ability to find me.
It's a heavy burden to look up at the mountain and want to start the climb.
I'm honestly not the kind of person who wants to step up to a podium, test the microphone and be like, 'Hey, I'm homosexual and this is who I am, hear me roar.' That's not who I am.
Considering retirement is like skirting with the reality of what's to come, and I think that's why so many athletes decide to do more introspection at that point.
I can't speak for other people, but for me, I feel like gone are the days that you need to come out of a closet. I never felt like I was in a closet. I never did. I always felt comfortable with who I am and the decisions I made.
I am not a politician by nature, but I will say I think there need to be more women in FIFA, and I would be open to having those conversations when the time is right.
I'm not sure if I'm going to get into coaching. I'm sure I'll stay in soccer somehow.
People don't understand that the feel of the surface is so important for a footballer. The ball travels on the surface; our feet move on the surface – all of that goes into how the game is actually played.
The truth is, I've been on a team my whole life. I'm the youngest of 7, so I've been training to be an athlete my whole life.
Whenever you get to win, you feel the satisfaction of all of your hard work, all the sacrifices, all the blood, sweat and tears. It feels right and makes you realise that you are really doing the right thing.
I think there's so much emphasis on body image and results and outcome, but really what you should be after is to be healthy and to feel good about yourself.
People don't think an athlete nowadays can have a team-first mentality and I do.
When you're younger and traveling and visiting new countries and cities, that stuff is exciting; it's flashy, it's shiny, but I always had this separation between who I was as a person and who I was as a player.
I know that I'll end up being a role model for many, many people out there for all kinds of reasons.
I'm fiercely patriotic, and the flag and the anthem is something that I really, really respect.
Your heart can only take you so far – sometimes the physical body tells you otherwise.
Any little touch a defender can make on me when I'm in the air literally moves me. On the ground, I can use my muscle, but in the air, it's harder to fight that off.
I think making the referee aware of a situation, there is nothing wrong with that.
During events like the World Cup and the Olympics, I tend to get really wrapped up in my own experience to stay focused, but it's like a bubble. I don't see much outside my own perspective.
I am going to change the world, and I'm talking to everybody in the possible world that I can get to that can help me to do that.
The minute you step off that podium is the minute you start preparing for the next world championship. That's kind of how I work. You celebrate for a brief moment, then you move on.
As professional soccer players, we take our bodies to the extreme. We're the people at the gym that look like we're breaking the machines. Pushing our bodies to the limits is what makes us so strong and capable and Olympians. It's not an easy thing to consistently do over and over again to your body.
I'll be honest. After I got married, I definitely had a shift in emotional devotion.
If I can help a kid feel more comfortable in their skin because they're struggling with maybe the things I struggled with in high school, that's great.
The most important thing is to get better at your craft, and concussions and head impacts are a setback.
If you break an individual record, it's because of the greatness that comes before you.
My teammates have put me in all different kinds of positions to score goals, and I can't say it enough, and I really through and through believe it in my heart that I'm only as good as my teammates allow me to be.
We need to have women in more powerful positions that are making decisions, so when that 10-year-old girl is looking up and wondering, 'What can I do and what do I want to be when I get older?' She has the opportunity to do and be whatever she wants.
I always think that struggle can bring out the best in people – or the worst.
I hope we can get to a point where women players are being paid properly all around the world so the only thing they have to worry about is playing football and playing football alone.
When I was really young, the women's national team wasn't on a grand media stage, so my role models were male basketball and male American football players.
You can't cry when things get a little bit hard. You've just got to push through and know that there's a reason and end to the means.
It feels a little bit odd to me that you have some guys that have never lived in the United States that play for the United States because they were able to secure a passport. To me, that just feels like they weren't able to make it for their country and earn a living, so they're coming here.
One thing I love to do when I'm working out is take my watch off, take my heart strap off, and just run – not for time, not for exertion, but just to get the blood flowing.
When I look in the mirror, I don't see a person who's made the kind of impact that Mia Hamm made on the game. She's still my idol, the greatest player and the greatest teammate. She achieved so much in so many different ways. What she did for women's soccer can't be measured.
I always wanted to be more validated as a human being, as a person, than I was as a player. I think that was a really hard balance for me.
Sometimes there has to be a goat on some level, and I'm totally fine with that being me.
As soon as I started to realize that I could make a living playing professional soccer, I went to that place where I could torture myself because I knew it would make me better for the championship game.
You know me, I'm not that kind of person that cares to unveil all of my personal things to the world because frankly, in terms of my soccer, it doesn't matter.
At the most elite level, your nutrition becomes a lifestyle: it's not something you have to do when you're preparing for Olympic games or World Cup games – you just do it. You're more inclined to eat healthier because it's better for your muscles.
I think that in order to get better as an athlete and to see whatever kind of results you're after, you have to make goals. Whether you write them down or tell someone about them, it's important to set goals for yourself in order to achieve any kind of success.
It's always really challenging trying to go from player to player/coach. You have a kind of friendship basis of relationship with all of your teammates, and now you go to this power position where you have to make decisions that might hurt people's feelings.
My nephew has type 1 diabetes, and it's my goal and hope that in his lifetime there will be a cure for diabetes. There's no place better to give the money to than the Juvenile Diabetes Association.
I'm going to do anything I can do – whether that's being part of FIFA or creating some sort of movement that can actually impart real equality across all lines – in every country, every city, every sector all over the world, that's what I'm going to do.
I always think that struggle can bring out the best in people – or the worst.
Sometimes when you fail, it allows you the opportunity to grow more motivation and get more intense about your training.
As an athlete, you are literally programmed to endure a specific amount of pain.
When you're a pro athlete, life is very narcissistic – everything relates back to you and how you play. When you are getting out of pro sports, you suddenly have to get a little more mindful of what's going on around you and how you affect the rest of the world.
When you can score three goals without the most prolific scorer in the world, you know you have a lot of depth, and it gives you confidence.
I want to reduce my risks as much as possible and hopefully be able to go to the World Cup fit, ready and healthy.
I'm not spending every second thinking about the World Cup, but it's always in my mind when I make choices and decisions.
Forever, it was just soccer – passion, life, love. Then I got married, and I had to transfer some of my energy. I want to be my best for my country, but I also made a really big promise and choice to be the best in my marriage. That has not always been the easiest thing to manage.
Having different people come together and be on a team and win a world championship is literally, I think, the definition of being American.
From a pretty early age, my mother realized that I was a little bit more gifted and talented than my own age group. So, she moved me over to play with the boys' travel soccer team when I was about 11 years old.
I don't care how many championships you've won or how many records you've broken – if you've had a hand in pushing forward not only a game but women in sport's movement, then I think that's pretty darn good.
I would love to be a mum if I'm blessed to have children. My wife and I have those plans.
Soccer players generally burn through all of their carbohydrate stores by halftime, so how are you going to replace those? That's what we do at halftime.
When I was in college, I learned to really take care of my body and figured out what works best for me and what doesn't work for me when it comes to my nutrition. That helped so much on the field because soccer is such a fitness-oriented game.
This might sound masochistic or narcissistic, I don't know, but when I'm not playing the game, the validations I feel about life are always through the hardships. I relate more to sadness, in a lot of ways, when I'm not playing.
For any athlete growing up, the Olympics is the one thing you watch with your family, and it's the one thing you dream about. Seeing your country's flag go up as you get a gold medal is the best thing you can achieve.
I want to do what I can to give the next generation of athletes added advantages in the game.
2014 was physically a tough year because I injured my knee, and you know how that goes with your emotions and the mentality.
I want my legacy to be about the soccer, and if I can help people be happier in life in any capacity, awesome.
International friendlies, they mean something, but what you want is to play on the biggest stage, play under the lights.
As a competitor, I want to continue to keep turning the chapters and keep challenging myself.
I don't know if I found soccer or if soccer found me. Especially because when I was younger, I was doing it, in a lot of ways, because I wanted the attention of my mom and dad.
My eldest sister Beth is a doctor who studied at Harvard and Columbia and played basketball for Harvard. She set the athletic and academic standard for the rest of us to follow.
My parents, they're the kind of people that didn't want me to get a big head, so they just kept challenging me and challenging me.
The most important thing is that sometimes you have to go through hard times to get to the good stuff.
I think, as you grow older, you have figure out the best way to utilize not only your body but your skill.
I haven't won a World Cup. There's things that haven't been finished, and I'm not afraid to fall flat on my face trying.
The growth of women's soccer and women's sports all around the world has been slow.
I've always been motivated more by negative comments than by positive ones. I know what I do well. Tell me what I don't do well.