Abby Wambach will play her final professional game tonight, putting an end to what has perhaps been the single-greatest career for an American soccer player ever.
Since first making her international debut in 2001, Wambach has scored 184 international goals — the most by a single player, male or female, in the sport. Known for her prowess heading the ball, Wambach scored one of the most iconic goals in American soccer history, in stoppage time against Brazil in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Women’s World Cup, and in 2012 helped the USWNT win their first world cup since 1999.
To chart Wambach’s career is, in many ways, to chart the rise of soccer in the United States, and not by coincidence: her role in growing the sport has been second to none.
In honour of Wambach’s retirement, on Wednesday Gatorade released a moving commercial entitled “Forget Me”. The minute-long ad features Wambach packing up her locker for a final time and tossing the nameplate on her locker into the trash. Her face grows emotional, and in a voiceover she says she hopes one day nobody will remember her name or her accomplishments because of how far the sport will have gone.
It’s a moving commercial, if also an inaccurate one: Wambach is already immortalised in American soccer history, and however much the sport grows in the decades to come will have her to thank as much as anyone.
You can watch the whole thing here:
And here’s another tribute video, which includes Wambach’s wife and parents:
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