July 11, 2008
ON THE VERGE
Wambach a goal away from 100
It's not a question of if, it's a question of when for Abby Wambach.
|Abby Wambach is only a goal away from her 100th international goal at the age of 28.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The U.S. forward finds herself only one goal away from becoming the ninth player in soccer history to score 100 international goals.
Wambach, who made her debut for the United States in 2001, has 99 career goals. With one more, she will join Mia Hamm (158 goals), Kristine Lilly (129), German's Birgit Prinz (120), Italy's Elisabetta Vignotta (107), Michelle Akers (105), Italy's Carolina Morace (104), Scotland's Julie Fleeting (103) and Tiffeny Milbrett (100) in one of international soccer’s most exclusive clubs.
Wambach will get an opportunity for her 100th in two matches as the Americans take on Brazil at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. Sunday (ESPN, 4 p.m. ET) and at Torero Stadium in San Diego, Calif. Wednesday (Fox Soccer Channel, 10 p.m. ET).
Five goals have come against Brazil, including one of her best-known: the overtime score that won the 2004 Olympic gold- medal match.
The 28-year-old Wambach has scored her 99 goals in 125 international appearances, the best goals-to-games ratio in U.S. history. She averages a goal for about every 90 minutes she has played. At 5-11, Wambach’s size and strength have been key assets, but her speed and skills have also helped her score goals.
She hails from Rochester, N.Y., where she was a high school All-American. She attended the University of Florida, where she scored 96 goals, but her ascension to the U.S. National Team featured several setbacks. Wambach finished her college career in 2001 after having a breakout Nordic Cup that summer with the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team, and joined the Washington Freedom of the now-defunct Women's United Soccer Association.
Over the next two years, despite numerous call-ups to national camps, she failed to make several rosters, but did show flashes of what was to come, scoring five goals in 2002, including her first hat-trick against Scotland. Wambach, with a new dedication to fitness and professionalism, had a spectacular 2003 WUSA season. She tied for the league-lead in collecting 13 goals and seven assists while leading the Freedom to the WUSA crown. Wambach scored both goals in the championship game, including a golden-goal winner in extratime.