January 9, 2013
For once, it was all about Abby
By Michael Lewis
Abby Wambach likes to tell people that it is never about her. It is always about the team.
In many games, she is right. But sometimes she is wrong. Sometimes it is about her.
When you are a world-renowned goal-scorer for arguably the best women's soccer team on the planet, sometimes it is about your lethal striker.
On Monday, it was all about Abby Wambach as she became the first American since Mia Hamm in 2002 who earned the FIFA women's world player of the year. And rightfully so.
Whether Wambach was honored for her year's accomplishments or a career's worth of work, it doesn't really matter.
Just to refresh your memory, Wambach scored five goals in the first five games of the London Olympic women's soccer tournament -- one goal in each encounter -- leading the Americans to the gold for the third consecutive time. The Rochester, N.Y. native did not have to score in the 2-1 gold-medal match victory over Japan -- Carli Lloyd supplied the damage in that game -- but Wambach already had made her case.
If you're into statistics, Morgan wins by a country mile. She participated in 49 of the U.S.'s 120 goals in 2012 (28 goals and 21 assists) -- an amazing 40.8 percent. Wambach? She finished with 27 goals and eight assists. Not too shabby on her part.
Of course, there were more important numbers for Wambach, such as the 28-1-3 record the U.S. forged in 2012.
But taking nothing away from Morgan, it is more about number and all about intangibles when it comes to Abby Wambach. She has played hurt. She has inspired her teammates. She is a leader on and off the field.
In 2004, Wambach continued pushed for the U.S. women's team to win the gold for the 99ers -- Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Briana Scurry and Joy Fawcett -- who were retiring after the Athens Olympics.
If she has survived two more years of throwing her body around, hopefully a teammate will push to win the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada for Abby Wambach.
She deserves it.
Just like she deserved FIFA's ultimate individual honor.