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Abby Wambach opts not to play NWSL season to focus on World Cup

AbbyWambachWesternNYFlash1-SkyBlueFCNWSL2014 (SkyBlueFC)

By RYAN TOLMICH

U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach is devoting her full attention to this summer’s World Cup.

The Western New York Flash announced on Wednesday that Wambach will not play professional club soccer in 2015 ahead of the upcoming tournament.

“I am so proud of our league and truly appreciate the support of (Flash owners) the Sahlens and the fans of Western New York,” Wambach said. “At this stage of my career, I know what I need to prepare mentally and physically for this summer. My sole focus is to help bring a World Cup back to the U.S.”

Wambach appeared in 29 matches and registered 17 goals and seven assists in two seasons with the Flash.

“While it’s difficult to lose a player like Abby, we are grateful for her contributions over the past two years, not only to the Flash but to the entire Rochester and Western New York soccer community,” Flash President Alex Sahlen said. “We want to wish Abby and the rest of the U.S. Women’s National Team the best of luck in the upcoming World Cup.”

As a national team player, Wambach would have seen a greatly reduced NWSL schedule regardless, as preparations for and participation in the World Cup is expected to cause USWNT players to miss large chunks of the NWSL season.

What do you think of Wambach’s decision? What does it mean for the U.S. Women’s National Team and the NWSL?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. The women have fought so hard for this league then they just turn their back on it. I would be pissed if i was the NWSL. She is a big draw and will impact already tough attendance numbers.

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  2. You can’t compare this to the mens’ situation (like if Messi or Ronaldo decided to take their season off). The US women will play a ton of games and have a long camp (more games and more camp then the men have). The level of play in the NT camp is likely to be better than the level of play in the league. I suspect that at this age, Wambach simply knows that her body can’t do what she’d like it to do if she plays a full NT pre-WC schedule plus a long camp and NWSL games.

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    • Messi was playing of coarse but some have argued he took his foot off the gas before the World Cup. While Ronaldo burnt himself out in the Champions league run and then wasn’t much of a factor in Brazil.

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  3. Hm. She says she needs “to prepare mentally and physically”. In soccer terms, I am not sure what prepares one better than playing competitively at the highest level possible, so perhaps this isn’t soccer-related. In any case, she is a helluva competitor, so I am inclined to trust her judgement. Hopefully she can keep herself in the roster mix.

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  4. Not surprised. The USWNT powers that be spent the better part of this WC cycle keeping Abby happy, what with the tour to help her break the scoring record and then firing Tom Sermanni. After all that they aren’t going to start holding her accountable. I don’t see how she expects to be more ready by not only playing less, but barely playing any games at all. Workouts are not the same as game play.

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  5. I don’t understand how Abby is just assumed to make the roster, especially after this. Her form is way down from yesteryear, she doesn’t seem to be a starter, and she is taking actions that set her apart from her team mates. This is not good. What does she bring to the table that makes her so damned important to our prospects this June?

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  6. I don’t really understand the reasoning to skip the whole season, once the world cup is over their is still a lot of season left.

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  7. Is she a lock to make the WC squad? If I was the USWNT, I wouldn’t take her; I can’t imagine any player being taken to the World Cup after taking a season off.

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    • If she doesnt play at all between now and the world cup then I agree, but that won’t be the case. She’ll probably do a lot of fitness and training, maybe she’ll even train with and play against men. I was thinking it was time for the USMNT to move on from Wambach but after watching their last few games, I think they have to have to take her to the World Cup. Not just for her aerial game but she gets a lot of assists; she knows how to break down a defense..

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    • All this effectively amounts is Abby missing five games for the flash in April and May. Not a ton. And I’m sure she will be focused on being in top shape for June… she is massive competitor and this is her swan song

      People have to remember that the women’s game and men’s game do not make for a great analogy. Most international stalwart’s of Abby’s age and quality will play far more international games than club games in their careers (and earn the bulk of their soccer income this way). Most people do not begrudge an aging male player retiring or taking a break from international soccer to keep themselves at top level for their clubs, which are the more important component of their careers. Abby is doing the opposite because that’s how the women’s game work.

      It’s no secret Abby doesn’t have much left in the tank. This is her swan song, and she’s no good to us injured or unhealthy. She won’t be the 90 minute workhorse she has in the past, but she has a unique skill set to offer and I’d bet heavily she makes a clear difference in at least one game.

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