Abby Wambach looked tired.
As she sat at the commentator’s desk on the Fox Women’s World Cup set in Vancouver (foreshadowing perhaps?), she admitted she’d had very little sleep following the U.S. women’s national team’s World Cup victory.
So, as analyst Alexi Lalas aptly pointed out, it was the perfect time to ask Wambach about her future with U.S. Soccer. Wambach announced earlier this month that this would be her last World Cup, but she didn’t say anything about the 2016 Olympics.
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“Right now, I’m gonna have to definitely re-evaluate in the coming weeks, the coming months,” Wambach said. “We’ve got the 10-game celebration tour that we’re gonna have a lot of fun with and we’ve got to qualify come January/February of next year for the Olympics. So, we’ll see how my body feels, we’ll see what’s going on with some of the other players on the team. It’s an 18-squad, so it’s a harder squad to make. And I just want to be happy and playing really good soccer.”
Wambach saw her role with the U.S. national team steadily decrease throughout the World Cup as she went from starter at the beginning of the tournament to playing just the final 11 minutes of the final game against Japan.
Wambach said she wasn’t necessarily mad about her role and understood that it was her time to step back and allow other players to step into the spotlight.
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“I think it was really symbolic for me to come on the field to get the armband from Carli, for me to give it to [Christie Rampone] because [Rampone]'s gonna be my captain, forever captain,” Wambach said. “And the symbolism of Carli being the one that just basically takes the entire game and puts our team on her back. That’s something that I’ve been used to doing. I’m so proud of her. This team is in a good place and good hands for sure.”
During the awards ceremony, Wambach and Rampone were held back from the other players to make sure they were the last ones to receive their medals. The duo also hoisted the trophy together. Wambach said she had talked to Rampone about that moment earlier in the tournament.
“I told [Rampone] probably a few games ago, actually, when we win this thing we’re gonna raise that trophy together,” Wambach said. “Because it’s not easy being an older player and not getting all the minutes that we’re normally used to getting throughout the tournament. So, we have to be our support system in a lot of ways.”
The U.S. National Team will play a pair of friendly matches against Costa Rica on Aug. 16 and Aug. 19 in Pittsburg, and Chattanooga, Tenn., but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a lot of younger faces in those contests. Then the World Cup team will reunite for a nationwide celebration tour. The details of that tour have not yet been announced.
After that, coach Jill Ellis will begin making decisions about the Olympic Team as CONCACAF begins its qualification in late January.
And by then, we’ll all know Wambach’s decision.
“How do you not want to play for your country every time you possibly can?” Wambach said. “This is a tough one, to be able to go out on top. I don’t know. It’s tough.”