By Lizzy Goodman
10 June 2019
In spring 2018, Abby Wambach, the most decorated soccer player in American history, gave a commencement address at Barnard College that went viral. The player who had scored more goals than any other, male or female, in international competition described standing onstage at the ESPYs the year after she retired in 2015, receiving the Icon Award alongside two peers, Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant. “I felt so grateful,” she recalled. “I had a momentary feeling of having arrived; like, we women had finally made it.” As the athletes exited the stage, each having, as Wambach put it, “left it all on the field for decades with the same ferocity, talent and commitment,” it occurred to her that while the sacrifices the men made for their careers were nearly identical to her own, their new lives would not resemble hers in one fundamental way. “Kobe and Peyton walked away from their careers with something I didn’t have: enormous bank accounts,” Wambach said. “Because of that, they had something else I didn’t have: freedom. Their hustling days were over; mine were just beginning.”
The United States women’s national team is the best in the world and has been for decades. Since the FIFA Women’s World Cup was inaugurated in 1991, the United States has won three of the seven titles, including the most recent one in 2015. Since women’s soccer became an Olympic sport in 1996, it has won four of six gold medals. The team has been ranked No.1 by FIFA for 10 of the last 11 years and has produced some of the biggest female sports stars of the last several decades, from Mia Hamm to Wambach to the current starting center forward, Alex Morgan.
Read the full article in The New York Times.