Abby Wambach doubted she could beat Mia Hamm's record (Abby Slideshow)

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  • USA's striker Abby Wambach celebrates after scoring during the quarter-final match of the FIFA women's football World Cup Brazil vs USA on Sunday. The U.S. women’s soccer team next plays France in the semi-finals.
  • Abby Wambach yells to teammates during a Women’s Professional Soccer league match against the Western New York Flash, Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in Rochester, N.Y. (AP)
  • Abby is a role model to her young fans Abby is a role model to her young fans
  • United States' Abby Wambach, right, and France's Sandrine Soubeyrand jump for the ball during the semifinal match between France and the United States at the WomenÌs Soccer World Cup in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
  • United States' Abby Wambach, left, heads the ball during the semifinal match between France and the United States at the WomenÌs Soccer World Cup in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
  • United States' Abby Wambach, left, and France's Laura Georges challenge for the ball during the semifinal match between France and the United States at the WomenÌs Soccer World Cup in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Wednesday, July 13, 2011.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • United States' Abby Wambach celebrates with United States' Megan Rapinoe after scoring her side's 2nd goal during the semifinal match between France and the United States at the WomenÌs Soccer World Cup in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Abby Wambach of USA (R) and Clare Polkinghorne of Australia vie for the ball during the 2008 Queen Peace Cup match between USA and Australia at Suwon Sports Complex on June 15, 2008 in Seoul, South Korea. USA won 2:1. Abby Wambach of USA (R) and Clare Polkinghorne of Australia vie for the ball during the 2008 Queen Peace Cup match between USA and Australia at Suwon Sports Complex on June 15, 2008 in Seoul, South Korea. USA won 2:1.
  • USA's striker Abby Wambach competes at  FIFA women's football World Cup Brazil vs USA on Sunday. USA's striker Abby Wambach competes at FIFA women's football World Cup Brazil vs USA on Sunday.
  • The agony of defeat: United States' Abby Wambach walks off the field after her team lost to Japan in the Women's World Cup final The agony of defeat: United States' Abby Wambach walks off the field after her team lost to Japan in the Women's World Cup final
  • United States' Abby Wambach, left, and United States goalkeeper Hope Solo celebrate winning the the quarterfinal match between Brazil and the United States at the Women's Soccer World Cup in Dresden, Germany, Sunday, July 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) United States' Abby Wambach, left, and United States goalkeeper Hope Solo celebrate winning the the quarterfinal match between Brazil and the United States at the Women's Soccer World Cup in Dresden, Germany, Sunday, July 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • Joy of victory: United States' Abby Wambach, right, celebrates after United States' Lauren Cheney, back, scored the opening goal during the semifinal match between France and the United States at the WomenÌs Soccer World Cup in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2013 — Abby Wambach once said her chances of beating Mia Hamm’s scoring record would be almost impossible. Even Hamm told Wambach about nine years ago, that she might need 15 years to catch her.

Now Wambach can’t believe she’s actually done it. And she did it in nine years, not 15.

Wambach scored four goals in a 5-0 win over South Korea at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Thursday, to take her tally to 160 and eclipsing Hamm’s record of 158. She is now the greatest goal scorer in women’s international soccer.

In an interview with The Washington Times in 2006, when she had 64 career goals in just 80 international games, Wambach doubted she could catch up with Hamm.

“I remember her [Hamm] saying, and it was almost a challenge at the time, and I didn’t have close to 30 goals, that I would have to play another 15 years [to catch her record] because she played almost 20 years,” Wambach said. “Mia got a six or seven-year head start on me, so catching her is pretty slim.”

Hamm, who played alongside Wambach at the Washington Freedom (2001-2003) retired from the game in 2004 at the age of 32. The 33-year-old Wambach shows no signs of hanging up her cleats.


SEE RELATED: Abby Wambach nears Mia Hamm’s goal record


Wambach’s 159th goal, that took her past Hamm’s record, came from a diving trademark header as she converted a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe. Sixty-nine of her goals have come from headers.

Wambach has now scored 160 goals in 207 games for the U.S. team. Hamm scored 158 goals in 275 games for the Americans.

“It’s surreal to begin with,” said Wambach. “I’m so thankful and my teammates were trying to get me those goals. I can’t thank them enough. As a competitor you want to be done with the things that put me at the forefront of conversations. This team is too good to be talking about one person.”

At the halftime mark in the game, U.S. Soccer released a statement from Hamm congratulating Wambach.


SEE RELATED: Slideshow: Abby Wambach named 2011 Female Athlete of the Year


“I’m just so proud of her,” Hamm said. “Just watching those four goals, that’s what she is all about. She fights for the ball, she’s courageous and she never gives up. Her strength and perseverance is what makes her so great, and it’s what defenders and opposing teams fear. From being her teammate early in her career, I know all she ever wanted to do was win and she continues to do that. I’m just glad I got to share 158 with her. It was short, but it was fun.”

Even President Obama, whose daughters play soccer, used his Twitter account to congratulate Wambach on Friday: “Congratulations @AbbyWambach, the greatest goal scorer in the history of women’s soccer—you’ve made your country proud.”

The win over Korea also marked the 101st win for the USA when Wambach scores a goal. The Americans are now 101-2-8 when Wambach scores.

“Comparing me to Mia is like apples and oranges,” Wambach once told the Times. “Both taste good but you just can’t do it even though everyone tries. Am I the next Mia Hamm? No way. I’m Abby Wambach.”

Yes, Abby Wambach, the geatest goal scorer in women’s international soccer.

John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.

Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon or email jhaydon@washingtontimes.com


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.  

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