Wambach wins FIFA Women's World Player of the Year; Sundhage named top coach

Avi Creditor
January 7, 2013
Abby Wambach overtakes Mia Hamm's international goalscoring record

At long last, Abby Wambach can be called the top women's soccer player in the world.

Wambach, the U.S. women's national team star striker, captured the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award, cementing her place at the top of the mountain after coming close in recent years. Wambach, the first American to win the world's top female honors since Mia Hamm in 2001 and 2002, had finished third in the voting in 2011, fourth in 2004 and 2006, and fifth in 2007 and 2010.

Wambach, 32, had five goals at the Olympics to lead the United States to the gold medal and finished the year with 24 goals. She outlasted international teammate Alex Morgan, who was named U.S. Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year, and Marta, Brazil's five-time Player of the Year winner, to capture the honors. The award was presented by U.S. national team goalkeeper Hope Solo at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich.

Wambach's former coach and the current boss of the Swedish national team, Pia Sundhage, was honored as the top coach of the year in the female game, defeating Bruno Bini of France and Norio Sasaki of Japan. Sundhage stepped down from the U.S. post after winning the gold medal, with former Australia coach Tom Sermanni stepping into the vacated role.

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