Abby Wambach Introduction

For my grade 9 eminent project I chose to do Abby Miller Wambach. I was originally drawn to Abby because I found it very easy to relate to her as I share many of the same personality traits and interests as her. As well as I admire and look up to her. In 2015, my mom and I went Downtown to BC Place to watch the women’s FIFA World Cup Finals Match and I saw Abby Wambach play. I was amazed by her skills on the field. My eyes were immediately drawn to her and throughout the whole game I continued to watch her. After I learned about all her achievements within the soccer community, I found out about all her other amazing achievements and how much of an impact she has made on the world. 

Similarities and Differences

Abby Wambach  Ruby Charney 
Similarities  Similarities 
White Ethnicity  White Ethnicity 
Female  Female 
Played soccer  Plays soccer 
Close with family  Very close with family 
Sometimes makes impulsive descisions Sometimes makes impulsive descisions
Youngest sibling  Youngest sibling 
Competitive with siblings  Competitive with siblings 
Passionate about sports since the age of 4  Passionate about sports since the age of 4 
Differences  Differences 
Often played on the boys’ team when younger  Usually played on a mixed gender team 
American  Canadian 
Six siblings (two sisters and four brothers)  One sibling (brother) 
Forward in soccer  Goalie or defender in soccer 

Goals

From a young age Abby had many big goals set for herself, like getting a full ride scholarship to university and hopefully playing professionally. When I was younger I had the dream of becoming a professional soccer player but as I got older I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, although I do still have the goal of getting an athletic scholarship to university. When Abby was first drafted into the Women’s United Soccer Association by Washington Freedom she was disappointed, but she later learned that she would be playing alongside Mia Hamm. When Abby found out she set the goal of learning as much as she can from Mia, while they played together. In Talons, I believe that there is so much to learn from my classmates and teachers, so while I am able to I want to try and learn from others as much as possible.

Barriers when Connecting 

Off the top of my head I can’t think of any major barriers that I might encounter when trying to connect to Abby, but I can think of a few minor ones, such as where we grew up. She was raised in the Rochester Suburb of Pittsford, New York. Pittsford is a small town with a population of approximately 30,000 people whereas Coquitlam where I’ve grown up is quite a large city with around 140,000 people. I might have trouble connecting to her because different the environments we were raised are. Another minor barrier that I could encounter is understanding what it was to have so many siblings. I don’t think that this would be that large of a barrier though, because I do have one brother and many cousins who I am very close with. In conclusion, there aren’t any barriers that will prevent me from connecting with my eminent person.

Impact/Contribution

Abby Wambach has made a huge impact in the soccer community. She has become a household name within every family who follows soccer. Not only has she set many record, buts she has also brought more awareness to women’s soccer. Some of her accomplishments within soccer are being a two-time Olympic gold medalist, being awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year Award, holding the world record for most international goals scored for both female and male player with a total of 184 goals, and being the highest all-time goal scorer for the American national team. On top of all that one of her goals was voted as the greatest 2015 Women’s World Cup goal. It is said that the reason she won the award was because of “the way in which she scored”. It was “with only a few seconds remaining in the match at most”. People believe that “the emotion behind the moment resonated with the voters,” which is why she won. Since Abby has retired from playing professional soccer she has become an inspirational speaker and an author. She has published two books called “Wolfpack” and “Forward: A Memoir”. Both of them are about her journey and how she got to where she is today. Abby has also become an advocate for gender equality especially when it comes to sports. She has spoken about how she wishes that she had done more about equality while she was playing. Overall, Abby Wambach had changed soccer forever and has made a huge impact on the world that will continue to grow.

Obstacles

Throughout Abby’s life she was experience many different obstacles such as coming out as lesbian, battling addiction, going through a divorce and getting a DUI. Abby comes from a very conservative family and growing up she went to Catholic schools, so it was very hard for her to come out as lesbian to her family. During Abby’s career she also struggled with alcohol and prescription drug abuse. She hid it from her family and it took her years to finally face herself. “I was ashamed for a long time, that’s why I wasn’t capable of getting help,” she confessed. “[My family]’s upset because I was in so much pain and they didn’t really even know because I kept it private for so long. This is like my call to people out there to not be ashamed of this, to ask for help.” After struggling with it for many years she finally opened up to her family and to the public about her struggles and now she is trying to help others who are going through what she did. Abby has learned from all the challenges that she has faced in her life and has grown from them. She is now even turning them into positives and learning how to help others.

Next Step/Goal

In my research, I want to learn more about all the struggles that Abby experienced during her career and how she overcame them and later learned to grow from them. I also would like to find out more about her family and how they influenced her life and career. As well as how they reacted when she came out as lesbian. Lastly, I want to try and find someone who played a major role in her life and someone who’s perspective I could write my speech from.