Abby Wambach is the second-leading goal scorer in U.S. women's soccer history with 138 goals. After the United States came up short in the Women's World Cup last summer, Wambach and the rest of her teammates are excited to make amends for that disappointment at the London Olympics next month. Deseret News writer James Edward caught up with Wambach this week and talked about the team's confidence level heading into the Olympics and the limelight that comes with it.
Q: Last time you played here in Utah it snowed the entire game. I have to imagine the bizarre nature of that match is something you'll never forget?
A: For sure. Snow angels. One goal. It was very interesting, that's for sure. I had never played in those kind of conditions before, even coming from upstate New York where there's plenty of snow. It's exciting to come back here.
Q: Coming off a 4-1 win against World Cup champion Japan in Sweden a couple weeks ago, what's the confidence level of this team as you gear up for the Olympics?
A: We're not getting too high, we're not getting too low. Right now it's about keeping with our plan and sticking to the process. Enjoying the journey. If we continue to do that, I have so much confidence in these players and this team and the coaching staff to make the right choices in the right moments. It's not going to be easy. You do need a little bit of luck on your side when it comes down to the end. And hopefully in the end we're the ones standing on the top podium. I feel we've done all the preparation work. Alex Morgan, myself, we're scoring a lot of goals right now. But like I said last World Cup, it's not about me scoring goals, it's about this team winning games. I'm helping my team if I'm scoring goals. Alex is helping her team if she's scoring goals. We're just going to keep going from there.
Q: The U.S. women have scored 14 goals in the past four games. How much of that has to do with the defensive effort you guys are putting in?
A: I think it has everything to do with it. The more fit we've gotten throughout the season the better our games have gone. If you can cover more ground defensively you're going to win the ball higher up the field, you're going to create more chances in the attack. I think we've really focused on that the last four games. You've seen a lot of goals come from defensive turnovers, to quick transition plays to great individual moments.
Q: With the absence of an established league, women's soccer ebbs and flows out of the national spotlight based on when the big tournaments roll around. When they do, though, sports fans in this country always seem to rally behind the U.S. Women's National Team passionately, as we saw during last year's World Cup. Are you excited to take center stage again at the Olympics?
A: This is what we live for. The times that we spend sweating, the blood, sweat and tears on the field, that's what it's for. We're not out here kicking the ball around just to have a good time. We want to go play at the highest level, in front of the biggest crowds under the lights. When the lights turn on, something happens. Something happens inside me, something happens inside this team. It's our platform. It's the time when we get to show the rest of the world what we've been doing for four years. The Olympics is really special in that way.
Q: What do you think is the future beyond the Olympics for women in soccer in this country with the Women's Professional Soccer league shutting down?
A: Truthfully, I wish I had an answer. I do know that this team is conscious of the fact we can indirectly have something really positive to do with that. Whether it be a new professional league or semi-professional league here in the United States. We believe that bringing back a gold medal will do nothing but good things for that venture.