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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Soccer superstar Abby Wambach comes out, marries teammate
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2013-10-09

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Abby Wambach, one of the most successful and decorated female soccer players in history, confirmed Wednesday, Oct. 9, that she is gay—and that she married fellow soccer player Sarah Huffman.

Wambach tweeted Wednesday: "Sarah and I wanted to thank everyone for all the love and support. We couldn't be happier. What an amazing week it's been. #honeymoon"

They were married Saturday, Oct. 5, in Hawaii, it was first reported by TMZ, which said the event was held at the Villas at Po'ipu Kai on the island of Kauai.

TMZ added that the intimate wedding was held on the beach at sunset in front of the couple's family and closest friends. Several members of the Team USA soccer team were in attendance, including Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux.

A longtime supporter of LGBT rights, Wambach had never previously spoken publicly about her sexual orientation. Huffman came out earlier this year with an announcement in support of Athlete Ally.

Wambach, 33, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year. She now plays for Western New York Flash in the National Women's Soccer League and for the U.S. Women's National Team.

Wambach is a five-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award, and she holds the world record for international goals ( 161 ) for both female and male soccer players.

Huffman, 29, played at the University of Virginia before turning pro. She has played for the U.S. National Team since 2010.

They previously were teammates with the Washington Freedom and magicJack, and now with the Flash.

"I knew about Abby's engagement, I played with Abby for years," Brandi Chastain told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "I'm very happy for her like I am for all my teammates and friends who get to experience that love that goes along with getting married. I'm thrilled for her."

Casie Campbell, an out lesbian from Chicago who also is married ( to Katie ), said Wambach is a "total inspiration and an awesome athlete." Plus, Campbell said Wambach's announcement was "brave, too; it takes a ton of courage to come out on the public stage."

Cyd Zeigler, the co-founder of Outsports.com, said Wambach's coming-out, though not a shocker, certainly is a "big deal."

"She's one of the biggest female athletes to ever come out. Certainly Billie Jean [King] and Martina [Navratilova] are legends, but after them, it's hard to think of bigger female athletes to come out," Zeigler said. "I can't think of a bigger female soccer player right now than Abby Wambach. She's a superstar."

Robin Lee, an out sports fan and memorabilia collector from San Francisco, said Wambach's coming-out is "wonderful news" for the LGBT community.

"Abby's been a superstar from the beginning. She's been an exemplary role model for soccer players in the U.S., and is the all-time leading goal-scorer," said Lee, the owner of Girl-Jocks.com . "Abby's autographed jerseys, [signed] soccer balls and photos are consistently great sellers. And she's one of the top four most-sought-after women's soccer players. I wish Abby and her wife all the best."

Sam Hamilton, the commissioner for the 2012 women's soccer league in the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ), added: "I'm happy for them; it's great to see. They will help lead others to follow footsteps for equality."

The U.S. Women's National Team also features Megan Rapinoe, who came out a few weeks before the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Photo caption: Tracy Baim (of Windy City Times) and Catherine Jefcoat (then of Lesbian Community Care Project) with Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe at a WCT-sponsored LCCP benefit in 2009. Photo by Hal Baim


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