U.S. women's team striker Abby Wambach scored four times in the first half on Thursday night in a soccer exhibition against South Korea in Harrison, N.J., and broke the international record for goals held by former teammate Mia Hamm.
The 33-year-old Wambach boosted her career total to 160 when she capped an amazing opening half with a tap-in goal. The U.S. team went on to post a 5-0 victory.
Wambach, the 2012 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, scored three times in the opening 29 minutes to pass Hamm, a former national team star who previously held the mark with 158 goals in international play.The men's record is 109 by Ali Daie of Iran.
'It was a special night,'' Wambach said. ''It was surreal when it was happening."
The record-setting 159th goal was a header off a corner kick by teammate Megan Rapinoe, touching off a celebration on the field before 18,961 in Red Bull Arena.
"I'm just so proud of her," said Hamm, whose career ended in 2004. "Just watching those four goals, that's what she is all about. She fights for the ball, she's courageous and she never gives up. Her strength and perseverance is what makes her so great and it's what defenders and opposing teams fear.
"From being her teammate early in her career, I know all she ever wanted to do was win, and she continues to do that."
The four goals were the second most that Wambach has scored in an international game.
'It's fantastic, a fairy-tale night,'' U.S. coach Tom Sermanni said. ''She could not have done it any better, just fantastic. She is a great professional . She is in great shape and she was really determined tonight to go out there and break that record, and she did it in great style.''