160 & COUNTING: ABBY WAMBACH BREAKS MIA HAMM’S RECORD
Added by Shannon Hovan on June 21, 2013.
HARRISON, NJ – History was made tonight. This, of course, is an obvious statement, and yet the most necessary and the most powerful. It doesn’t matter how it happened or even where it happened. All that matters is that it did. Abby Wambach, with the grit and intensity that she has shown us through he whole career, passed Woman’s Soccer legend Mia Hamm as the all-time leading goal scorer in international Women’s Soccer.
Red Bull Arena had a buzz about it last night. It felt as if an energy lie buried beneath it, wanting desperately to be unleashed. For the past six months “Chasing Mia”, as the Women’s Soccer world had labeled it, overtook the blogs, the interviews and the minds of all who had witnessed Mia in her glory and waited patiently to see Abby achieve the same greatness.
Coming into tonight, it was a known fact to any and all followers of Women’s Soccer that Wambach carried the number 156 on her back as she took to the field on a cool night in New Jersey. It was the number of goals she had tallied thus far, throughout a career that has lasted over a decade, and still going; just two shy of Mia’s record. The question was: how much longer would she have to go to reach the biggest number in Women’s Soccer history 158?
For something that had been building up for the twelve years that Wambach has donned the jersey of the United States, tonight it felt as though it wouldn’t have to wait that long. Quicker than even Wambach herself would even imagine it would. She doesn’t give herself too much credit for that.
“I think part of this is a lot to do with my teammates,” she said. “You can look at the first half and see just how may times they were trying to find me the ball.”
And, find her they did. 157 introduced itself in the ninth minute, courtesy of Lauren Cheney, who ushered the ball to Wambach’s feet who then lead it into goal. As the 19,000 fans that stood wide-eyed in Red Bull arena, as soon as Wambach’s first goal found the back of the net, one could feel with certainty that more were coming, and in haste. Less than ten minutes later, Wambach tied Hamm at 158. Again, on beautiful service from Lauren Cheney, who made a run to the left of goal inside the 18, turned the corner and placed the ball on Wambach’s head. The rest, as they say, is history.
In fitting fashion, 159 came off of the foot of Megan Rapinoe. It was a corner kick in the 29th minute, sent into the box with pace, onto Abby’s head and into the back of South Korea’s net. It was only a matter of time. The United States had been pouring it on their opponent since the opening whistle. The nine other field players for the United States seemed ruthlessly determined to find Abby, and guide her straight into the record books.
Wambach finished the night with four goals, bringing her goal-scoring tally to 160, and counting. When asked post-game how it felt to break Mia’s record, she glanced down at the ground and back up into the eyes of the media, looking at no one in particular and said: “You know, I’ve never really been focused on breaking the record, truthfully…I’m not really one to focus on records too much. But, yeah, I’m gonna have to sleep on that, I don’t really know how it feels yet.”
The emotion on her face was intense, but her words were flooded with composure; a trait that captain and long-time teammate Christie Rampone discussed after the match.
“Abby…in the midst of tonight, she stayed composed. I mean, the first goal; she hasn’t scored a goal like that in a long time,” noted Rampone. “She took an extra touch and stayed strong.”
That composure, though just a piece of the leader and athlete that is Abby Wambach, allowed her to take 160 pressure packed moments and turn them into goals; into the international women’s soccer scoring record.