January 12, 2015
By Michael Lewis
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CUP
Wambach: If USA has to play on turf at Women's World Cup, it should focus itself on winning it
Abby Wambach still has fleeting hopes that FIFA will change its stance on using artificial turf at this summer's World Cup. But there comes a time where the United States team has to put the playing surface on the back-burner and concern itself with the competition itself.
|Abby Wambach: "Unfortunately, for us players, there's going to be that point in which we just have to either move on or keep fighting."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
"Unfortunately, for us players, there's going to be that point in which we just have to either move on or keep fighting," Wambach said at a Monday morning press conference in zurich, Switzerland prior to the announcement of the FIFA women's player of the year.
Wambach and a few international players met with FIFA officials about the decision to hold the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada on artificial turf.
"Our meeting went really well today," she said. "We had great discussion. We told them how we felt openly, candidly, and FIFA heard us I think. Hopefully, something can change. But if not, it's going to be about the World Cup. We are not going to get into the World Cup environment and continue to talk about it because we all want to be winning that World Cup. And that's just going to be something that will take our attention away from what our real goal is at hand and its raising the trophy at the end of the tournament."
The USA has never finished below third place in the previous six competitions and Wambach vying to win her first world championship. With the striker on the team, the USA finished third in 2003 and 2007 and second in 2011.
"It was a good talk. It was honest. it was open. All I can say is that if we had more time, if we had better dialogue over a year ago, two years ago when these decisions were really being made, maybe we could have put together a coalition sooner to fight this. But some things in life are ... out of your hands. I think it's sad because for me, it's going to be my last World Cup. I would really love it to be on grass. But at the end of the day, we do all have to play on the same surface. I'm just going to be a whole heck a lot more sore after the tournament, that's for sure."
Added Wambach: "I think FIFA has made their decision and they're sticking to it. It's tough because as a female athlete we want to be treated equal and we want to be playing on grass. I think if you would ask any player who would be participating in the Women's World Cup next summer they would say that. The powers that be, the logistics, the timing, it just may not happen."
When asked whether she thought when Canada bids for the 2016 men's World Cup it would also have artificial surfaces to show discrimation was not a factor, Wambach replied, "I can't speak about what the Canadian federation will do in 2026. I have an idea."
Wambach is a finalist for the FIFA award along with Brazil's Marta and Germany's Nadine Kessler.