USA striker Abby Wambach scored four goals in a friendly against South Korea, including a hat trick in the first 29 minutes, to surpass the all-time international scoring record previously held by Mia Hamm. Wambach was two goals behind Hamm's record of 158 going into the match and she wasted no time in continuing her pursuit, first scoring in the 11th minute before adding a second in the 20th minute, third in the 29thst minute and a fourth just before halftime for good measure. She was eventually subbed off in the 61st minute before things could get too out of hand.
Wambach's third goal, the one that gave her the new record, was scored with a powerful header off a Megan Rapinoe corner kick. With her family celebrating in the stands at Red Bull Arena, her teammates rushed over to hug her, even those on the bench. But a South Korean player a little too eager to restart the match, took the ball record-breaking ball from her. Bemused, Wambach did get it back.
Making Wambach's achievement all the more impressive is the fact that she's done it in far fewer matches than Hamm played in her illustrious career. Wambach now has an even 160 goals in 207 international matches, while Hamm had 158 in 275 matches (on the men's side, Iran's Ali Daei holds the record with 109 goals in 149 appearances). This caps off one of the best periods of Wambach's 12 years with the U.S. national team, having won gold at the London Olympics last summer and being named 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year in January.
Before the USA's 5-0 win against South Korea was even over, Mia Hamm tweeted her congratulations to Wambach.
Congratulations @AbbyWambach. So proud of you, my friend. You are a warrior and true champion. Enjoy this.
— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) June 21, 2013
Wambach will surely pad her goal total a bit further as she looks ahead to the 2015 Women's World Cup and she might need to. Alex Morgan is well on her way to giving chase with 44 goals in 66 appearances over just three years.