OPINION: US SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR CALLS IT QUITS

India Kirssin | Staff Writer

One of the greatest sports careers of all time is now over.

Abby Wambach retired on December 16 after a US Women’s National Team game against China. Her career included two Olympic Gold medals and a FIFA Women’s World Cup championship.

She is the six-time winner of the US Soccer Player of the Year award, winner of the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year award, one of the most influential people on Time Magazine’s Time 100 List, and much more. On top of all of these awards, she is the all-time leading international goal scorer for men and women, with an amazing 184 goals.

While all of Wambach’s awards are astounding, perhaps her biggest accomplishment is the attention she has brought attention to her often-overlooked sport. Her strong voice has been tireless in raising awareness for women’s soccer and making sure all who play get equal treatment.

Wambach is one of the most recognizable players in soccer. Her short hair and 5’11” frame make her instantly noticeable. People who don’t know soccer know her. People who know soccer respect her. People who play soccer look up to her. She has been a role model for women everywhere. She encourages girls to be brave and bold and not worry what others think of them.

Wambach is ending her career on a high. Her win this past year at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was her first World Cup win. After finally becoming a world champion, Wambach decided it was time to pass the baton to a young group of rising stars. The absence of her leadership, voice and play will be a huge obstacle for the US team to overcome as no one will ever be quite like her.

So thank you, Abby. Thank you for letting us experience your amazing career. Thank you for voicing your beliefs. Most of all, thank you for believing in women everywhere. Your actions and character have extended far beyond the game you love and have made a long-lasting change. You are truly one of a kind and you will be missed.

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