Harrison, N.J, (June 20, 2013)-Fans poured into Red Bull Arena in hopes of seeing a bit of soccer history as the U.S. Women’s national team suited up against Korea Republic. They did not leave disappointed as Abby Wambach broke Mia Hamm’s all time international goal record enroute to a 5-0 victory for the Americans.
It took only ten minutes into the match before Wambach scored the 157th goal of her international career and barely another nine minutes passed before Wambach added number 158. It was only ten minutes later in the 29th minute when she broke Hamm’s all time international goal tally by scoring 159.
Fitting for a player that has headed in roughly 40% of her goals, both 158 and 159 were headers.
Wambach wasn’t done with her goal scoring heroics as she added her fourth goal of the night in the 46th minute giving her now 160 international goals. Wambach left the game in the 58th minute to a standing ovation.
This record had been the focus of soccer enthusiasts as Wambach neared what was once thought to be unreachable when Hamm stepped away from the game in 2004. Hamm is remembered as not only one of the greatest players to have played for the women’s national team but was also the face of the sport for several years. Wambach has gradually stepped into that role and now has passed the one that she looked up to for so many years.
“I can’t say how much I look up to Mia” Wambach said after the game. ”It was a special night, it was surreal when it was happening. I felt when I missed the breakaway (after the first goal), hey maybe it’s not going to happen. But my teammates were relentless putting me in those positions, and it’s obvious.”
Wambach has done her best to downplay her pursuit of the record even as the goals added up for the veteran striker and U.S. Soccer publicly championed for her to catch Hamm’s record. #ChasingMia became a popular hashtag on Twitter and every time Wambach took the pitch in the past few games the record has been the hot topic of conversation.
For a player that has always put her team first undoubtedly she will be excited to move past the record and simply focus on the one title that has alluded her career-a World Cup championship. The Women’s FIFA World Cup will take place in just two years in Canada and it is the glaring hole on what has otherwise been an impeccable resume for Wambach.
But for now the attention sits on the shoulders of Wambach and rightfully so. #ChasingAbby has begun.