abby wambach

Abby Wambach ‘had big problems’ with Hope Solo’s Olympic comments

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Abby Wambach said the U.S. played like it “didn’t have a soul” at the Olympics and said she “had big problems” with Hope Solo‘s comments in Rio.

“They kind of looked like a team that were trying to define themselves, but trying too hard,” Wambach, talking on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, said of the U.S. team that lost in the quarterfinals to Sweden.

Additionally, Wambach criticized goalie Hope Solo‘s “coward” comments about Sweden.

“I had big problems with that,” said Wambach, a teammate of Solo’s at the 2012 Olympics and at three World Cups. “You never call another team coward after you’ve just been beaten. The rules in the game are the rules in the game, and you don’t want to be a sore loser — not when you’re the best team in the world, right? That, to me, looks weak.

“That’s like playground stuff. Be a professional. Stand up and say, ‘You know what, they beat us at our own game. They played better than us today.’ Call a spade a spade.”

Wambach said she and Solo “butted heads” often when their careers overlapped on the U.S. national team. She called Solo’s six-month suspension “a lifetime achievement award” for her conduct.

“Was she difficult to work with at times? Hell yeah,” Wambach said. “Was I? Probably. Because we’re these big personalities.”

Wambach also said she would have retired after the 2012 Olympics had she won the 2011 World Cup.

VIDEO: Hope Solo’s immediate reaction to suspension

Abby Wambach to cover Olympics for ESPN

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Retired U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach is joining ESPN as an analyst and a contributor.

Wambach, the leading goal scorer of all time, will cover the European Championships in France and the Rio Olympics in August.

But her role won’t be limited to soccer: She will work across multiple platforms including ESPN Films and shows including “Outside the Lines,” according to the network.

“Talking and reporting on thing that I’m passionate about really, really was the selling point to me,” Wambach told The Associated Press. “Because I don’t want the rest of my life to be based on the fact that I played soccer. I want to be able to venture and learn about different things.”

Wambach also will produce a podcast, “Fearless Conversation with Abby Wambach,” which she promises won’t shy away from controversy. Among her first topics will be foreign players on the U.S. national team. Wambach drew criticism when she blasted U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann for bringing in “a bunch of these foreign guys” in December.

Oslo-born midfielder Mix Diskerud subsequently posted a message to Wambach on Instagram.

“I know we’re not quite equal. From ‘your group of people’ the country’s Commander in Chief need to be selected. However, other than that — you and I share something not unique, but constitutionally earned, a birthright to defend this nation as an American. Wherever we go. Led by whoever has earned, by democratic process, his/her right to lead, on or off the field, in peace, in war, in practice, or in any other kind of pursuit of your happiness,” he wrote.

Wambach said she’s willing to re-examine those comments.

“Why not? I think people tend to steer away from stuff that has caused controversy in their lives. For me, what better place to start? To be quite honest, it’s been few and far between in my career, the reason being that I’ve been speaking for 23 other women, so I kind of towed the party line during that time.”

Wambach, the FIFA Player of the Year in 2012, scored 184 career goals, more than any other player, male or female. She played 15 years with the U.S. women’s national team.

She capped her career last summer with the sport’s most prestigious championship when the United States defeated Japan 5-2 in Canada at the World Cup. It was the third World Cup title for the U.S. women and first since 1999.

Wambach appeared in four World Cups with the national team. She also has a pair of Olympic gold medals, from the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2012 Games in London. She did not compete in the Beijing Games because of a broken leg.

Wambach announced her retirement in October and played her final match in December.

Since she stepped away from the team, she has made several appearances at charity events and campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

During the course of her career, Wambach has been active in fighting for equal rights for female athletes. She led a group of players in protest of FIFA’s decision to play the 2015 World Cup on artificial turf, which is considered by many to be inferior to grass.

She made headlines last month when she was pulled over for driving under the influence in Portland, Ore., where she lives. After posting a public apology on her Facebook page, she pleaded guilty and entered a diversion program for first-time offenders.

MORE: Five Olympic questions with Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach retires before Rio Olympics

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Abby Wambach, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, will not play in the Rio 2016 Olympics, announcing her retirement on Dec. 16 on Tuesday.

“After much deliberation and talking with my friends, family, teammates and our coaching staff, I’ve decided to finally bring my soccer career to an end,” Wambach said in a press release. “While we still have more work to do for women’s soccer, after bringing the World Cup back to the United States this summer, I’m feeling extremely optimistic about the future of our sport. It’s been an amazing, wonderful ride and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of my life brings.”

Wambach’s last game for the U.S. will be Dec. 16 against China in New Orleans, the finale of its World Cup victory tour, according to U.S. Soccer.

Wambach, 35, said before this year’s World Cup and directly after winning it July 5 that she would take the weeks and months following the World Cup, possibly even into 2016, to decide on the Olympics, seeing how her body feels.

Wambach, international soccer’s all-time leading scorer, won gold with the U.S. in 2004 and 2012, scoring the tournament-winning goal in extra time against Brazil in Athens (video here). She missed the Beijing 2008 Olympics due to a broken leg suffered one month before the Games.

Wambach will turn 36 two months before the Rio Olympics. Two U.S. players older than that have played in the Olympics since women’s soccer was added in 1996 — Christie Rampone in 2012 and Joy Fawcett in 2004, according to sports-reference.com.

It would have been tougher for Wambach to make the 2016 Olympics than the 2015 World Cup not only because she would have been one year older, but also because the Olympic roster size is 18 players. The World Cup was 23 players.

The U.S. is stacked with attackers outside of Wambach, including Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez.

The U.S. will attempt to qualify for the Rio Olympics at a CONCACAF tournament in February. They will be heavily favored to earn one of the two available spots.

MORE: Five Olympic questions with Abby Wambach