Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-08-24
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Soccer sensation Abby Wambach set for the 2014 season
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2014-04-18

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Abby Wambach has been out since she was 22, just not to the world.

Her soccer coaches and teammates knew. So too did her friends and family.

And over the past 12 years or so, Wambach has developed into one of the best soccer players in the world, hands down.

Her sexual orientation has had no impact on the field.

Wambach was a member of the University of Florida's first NCAA Division I women's soccer national championship team and a three-time All-American. She is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner and the 2012 World Player of the Year from FIFA, the international governing body for the sport. That's just the start of the amazing kicks from her career. Just consider:

—She is a six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year.

—She has been a regular on the U.S. Women's National Team since 2003.

—She stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the national team and holds the world record for international goals ( 167 ) for both men and women soccer players.

—She won the 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play for an amazing goal against Brazil.

—She was the 2011Women's Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year and the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, the first individual soccer player ever—man or woman—to receive the award.

"It's always fun to turn a new chapter, create a new story. I think that's part of why I love doing what I do so much because every year you get to keep exploring yourself individually, but the team too. And every year, every team is different, be it because of personnel, personalities, talent, whatever," Wambach said in an exclusive interview. "I think the teams that have the most success are those that open to the options, the ideas of writing a new book. And if you can all get on the same page as quickly as possible, you'll find a lot of success that way."

Soccer is simply fun for this flashy forward who will celebrate her 34th birthday in June. Wambach, born and raised in Rochester, N.Y., has been playing soccer since she was 4.

"Obviously there's the grind of long seasons, [prolonged] fitness, all of the things that become habitual more than anything. But at the end of the day, I'm still a competitor. I compete doing the most random things, even off the soccer field," said Wambach, whose competitive nature drives her to be the best, always—even just playing card games.

"I like competing and I like putting myself in an environment where I have to push myself physically and mentally. If there is a chance that I can try to win at something, I'm going to make it into a game."

Wambach is now the star for the Western New York Flash of the National Women's Soccer League ( NWSL ), and the team plays its home games at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. This is her second season with the team, and Wambach will be in uniform when the Flash play against the Chicago Red Stars for Chicago's season-opener on Saturday, April 19, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview following the Chicago Fire game. The Red Stars are slated to kick off at 5:45 p.m.

The NWSL, she said, proved last season that it can be successful.

"I think there are some really, really good soccer players [in the NWSL]," she said. "Every game is close. Almost every game last season was a one-or two-goal game; that kind of shows the parity among the teams, which makes every single game important and every single game winnable and losable. That's kind of what you need to get fans to come and watch, getting them excited about the product on the field.

"You want to get better year after year; you want the stadiums to look prettier, to look nicer, to be newer; you want the product on the field to be better. Otherwise, what are we doing here? I think the reason why all of us sacrifice and participate in what we do is, so we can hopefully grow the game. If we continue to do what we've been doing over the past few years—at the National Team and in the professional level—then we will continue to grow the game, which we are doing now."

Wambach has had an amazing run on the international stage, with eye-popping, jaw-dropping goals around the world. She's shined in the Summer Olympics and sparked in the FIFA Women's World Cup—and multiple times for each memorable tournament.

"I feel lucky in that I can really focus my energy for a year or two, getting as fit and healthy as I can possibly be for those couple of years. I think I'm really good at knowing the times in which I can peak and I think that's something that definitely has extended my career," she said. "It's almost as if I've had multiple careers, based on who the coach is, who my teammates are, and where we're at as a National Team.

"My career has been steady, long, and hopefully it can keep going.

"I don't really get too wrapped up in the stuff that I've accomplished. I guess those are the moments for retirement [to reflect]. I'm confident, comfortable with the things that I've done. I don't look too much at who I am as a celebrity, or [winning the] World Player of the Year [honor]. All of that stuff is a by-product of working hard, committing yourself to playing the game, and hopefully growing and evolving the game. I definitely think that's how I look at myself. I also think staying modest and humble is super important because there are so many great futbol players in the world, and I've been lucky to play with a lot of them and been lucky to play against a lot of them. I try to keep the mindset that I'm not better than anybody. Even on the field, it doesn't make me a good person, if I'm a good soccer player—and that's very, very important for me to continually express and feel."

Wambach said her biggest on-field regret to date is never having won the World Cup. She also regrets never having had a normal 9-to-5 job … well, sort of.

"Not that I regret it because I love what I do. But, I think it would be real interesting to learn what it's like to have a job and … feel what normal people feel," she said. "It's hard to even say things that I regret because I don't really live like that; I live life to the fullest and have no regrets.

Her life—her personal life, that is—was shot into the public eye last October, when she revealed she had married fellow soccer player Sarah Huffman in Hawaii. The two had been teammates many times on the field, even last season with Western New York, yet Huffman now plays for the Portland Thorns FC.

Their wedding, Wambach said, "was really special with a lot of friends and family [attending]. We're still riding the high of year one of marriage."

Wambach said she has been approached by many LGBT community members, for any number of reasons, including requests that she be a further spokesperson for the LGBT community. But, Wambach added, "The reality for me is that I don't really try to make statements with things that I do with my life. Not because I don't believe in it, but, I play sports, and I think there definitely is an avenue and an environment where you can cross over and gain popularity and publicity because of your sport in political arenas, but, I never really was in the closet.

"After I turned 22, I was out with my teammates and everyone. It's interesting now because people were saying last year that Abby finally came out of the closet. But the reality for me was, I never felt like I was in [the closet]. I don't feel any different because everyone in my life knew."

Still, she added, "I appreciate if [my coming-out to the rest of the world] helps someone feel more comfortable in their world.

"I definitely think there will be people who are positively impacted by Jason Collins and Michael Sam coming out, especially men. But I also think, at some point, hopefully in the very near future, that we can stop talking about people's sexual [orientation], and start the conversation on the bullying and sports overall. First and foremost, I want to be known as a good person and a soccer player. All of that other stuff is irrelevant, based on what I do on the field. And I think most other athletes will agree."

Wambach's world has not changed, at all, since her wedding last October, she stressed, "except having more responsibility with the relationship."

"I don't see myself as a spokesperson for the gay community; I don't look at myself as that. I would see myself as the spokesperson for something different, but what, I don't really know right now," said Wambach, who has attended Pride Parades in the past.

When asked about the challenges male athletes seem to face more than women when coming-out, Wambach said it stems in the "machismo" of male athletes.

"Unfortunately, there's also a stereotype that, if you're gay, you're less manly. But that's just not the case," she said. "So, I think it's been harder for men, and probably will continue to be harder for a while longer. Hopefully the Jason Collins' and Michael Sam's of the world will keep coming out and opening the door, so someday there is no conversation around this subject—and I really believe that."


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Proud to Run presents checks totaling $50K 2016-08-24
World news: Irish politician, trans murder, sports items 2016-08-23
Reflecting on Rio: The good, the bad and the ugly 2016-08-22
Lesbian palimony decision calls on common-law marriage rules 2016-08-22
Gay Games congratulates International Olympic Committee on success, inclusivity 2016-08-22
Meet lesbian sports icon Diana Nyad 2016-08-19
Lifetime partners share their bliss with a sunflower 2016-08-17
'Olympic Gear Party' fundraiser Aug. 20 2016-08-10
Second City Tennis Classic Aug. 12-14 2016-08-10
World: Olympics items, gay juvenile executed, lesbian Serbian official 2016-08-09
Lily Tomlin to be honored with 2016 SAG Life Achievement Award 2016-08-06
Highest ranking openly LGBT service member to be honored by AMPA 2016-08-04
Chicago Sky star Elena Delle Donne gets engaged to a woman, opens up on their relationship 2016-08-03
Lesbian couple find second lives as artists, shop owners 2016-08-03
Court: Title VII does not cover orientation bias 2016-08-03
FGG announces 2016 Legacy Awards 2016-08-03
National: More trans deaths, Biden's same-sex marriage, $1M donation to Hillary 2016-08-02
The battle for gold in Rio meets other Olympic issues 2016-08-01
Tammy Baldwin speaks on her legacy 2016-07-28
Federation of Gay Games sets Legacy Awards 2016-07-27
Event marks 10th anniversary of Gay Games in Chicago 2016-07-27
National roundup: Lesbian bishop, Dan Savage, Marco Rubio 2016-07-26
Amanda Bearse talks lesbian web series, Married ... with Children 2016-07-26
NBA moves all-star game out of North Carolina in response to anti-LGBTQ law 2016-07-21
PROFILE Rita Adair talks activism, upcoming book, social work 2016-07-20
Rita Adair on her activism, upcoming book, social work career 2016-07-17
Transparent, Her Story, RuPaul among Emmy nominations 2016-07-14
'Out at the Sox' topped with Sox win 2016-07-13
Ride for AIDS culminates with emotional festival 2016-07-13
Sports news 2016-07-12
National roundup: Miss. ruling, lesbian N.C. politician, Iowa case settled 2016-07-05
NUNN ON ONE Erin Murphy: Actress talks 'Bewitched,' new lesbian role 2016-07-05
Chicago LGBT sports group CMSA embraces trans, GNC individuals with new policy 2016-07-03
Chicago Women's Health Center 4th Revolutionary Healthcare Fundraiser 2016-07-02
Open lesbian attorney runs for Florida legislature 2016-06-30
Gay Games VII 10th anniversary celebration July 23 2016-06-30
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Singing the praises of GALA 2016-06-29
Ride for AIDS Chicago: Fighting HIV/AIDS mile after mile 2016-06-29
Out athletes engage in 'Straight Talk' 2016-06-27
Illinois woman charged with attack on actress Kelly McGillis 2016-06-25
 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.

www.windycitymediagroup.com
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by LoveYourWebsite.com