Abby Wambach is having one heck of a day. Soccer’s all-time international goal scorer is playing in her last game tonight, again China in New Orleans as part of the U.S. Women’s National Team Victory Tour. But before that, she went on Bill Simmons’ podcast, and dropped some serious critiques about the men’s U.S. National Team.
When asked how she’d fixed USMNT, Wambach was extremely frank. “I would definitely fire Jurgen [Klinsmann, head coach]. Sorry, Sunil [Gulati, Director U.S. Soccer Federation]. Sorry, U.S. Soccer, but I don’t think the litmus test on him has worked. He hasn’t really focused I feel enough attention on the youth programs. Although he says he has, I don’t think that he has. I also believe the way that he has changed and brought in a bunch of these foreign guys is just not something that I believe in. Wholeheartedly. I don’t believe in it, I don’t believe it in my heart,” she said.
Not to be outdone, on Wednesday, Gatorade released a new commercial in which Wambach apparently signs off from public life for good, sending the message “make them forget me,” before deleting all of her social media accounts.
The ad, which some might consider a tear-jerker, features Wambach delivering a stoic and poetic message about the progress of the game. As an openly gay player and a long time advocate for equality between the men’s and women’s game, the powerful message was fitting.
“Forget me. Forget my number, forget my name, forget I ever existed,” the two time Olympic gold medalist and 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year says, while sitting in front of a locker with her nameplate. “Forget the medals won, records broken and the sacrifices made. I want to leave a legacy where the ball keeps rolling forward. Where the next generation accomplishes things so great, that I am no longer remembered. So, forget me. Because the day I’m forgotten is the day we will succeed.”
Her longtime teammate Hope Solo wrote about Wambach for Sports Illustrated, and even President Obama shouted her out on Twitter.
USWNT plays China at 8 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game will be televised on FOX Sports 1.