Photo by Thomas Eisenhuth/ISIphotos.com
Abby Wambach's penchant for coming up big in the FIFA Women's World Cup this past summer has earned her more individual acclaim six months later.
Wambach was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year Tuesday, becoming the first soccer player — male or female — to win an individual year-end award from the AP.
Wambach scored four goals at the Women's World Cup, including a last-gasp dramatic equalizer in the quarterfinals against Brazil that forced the match to penalty kicks, where the United States won to keep its run alive. She also came up with a go-ahead goal in the semifinal against France and a go-ahead goal in extra time of the final against Japan, although the Japanese equalized late through Homare Sawa and went on to win the cup in penalties.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo finished second in the voting, while Sawa finished tied for sixth.
Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:
FOUR MORE CLINCH CCL BERTHS
The field for the 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champions League continues to come more into focus after four more teams cemented their places in the tournament.
No strangers to the CCL, Metapan and Olimpia will both be part of the tournament for the fifth straight year after capturing the El Salvador and Honduras Apertura crowns, respectively.
They'll be joined by 2011-2012 tournament participants Municipal, which won the Guatemalan Apertura championship, and Alajuelense, which won the Costa Rican Invierno.
MLS already has four representatives in the 24-team field (Los Angeles, Seattle, Real Salt Lake, Houston) and could have a fifth as long as either Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal prevent NASL's FC Edmonton from winning the Canadian championship.
LIVERPOOL SIGNS TEEN STARLET
Liverpool has won the race to sign Wycombe Wanderers' 16-year-old forward Jordan Ibe.
Ibe is an up-and-coming English attacker, who came through the Charlton Atheltic and Wycombe youth systems. He became Wycombe's youngest-ever goal scorer by finding the net in October, when he was still 15, and he was reportedly on the radar of a number of top-level Premier League clubs as a transfer target.
FIRE TO PLAY REAL ESPANA
The Chicago Fire will play Honduran side Real Espana in a preseason friendly in New Orleans on Feb. 4, the club announced on Tuesday.
Real Espana, which boasts former Los Angeles striker and Honduran veteran Carlos Pavon, was a participant in the 2011-2012 CCL, where it finished last in Group B but beat and tied the Colorado Rapids in their two meetings.
What are you thoughts about Wambach winning the AP award? Do you think 2012-2013 is MLS' best shot yet at putting forth a CCL winner? Think Ibe is a star in the making? Planning on getting Mardi Gras started early by checking out the Fire friendly?
Share your thoughts below.