Abby Wambach set soccer’s international scoring record Thursday night, scoring four goals in the first half of a 5-0 U.S. victory over South Korea to surpass Mia Hamm‘s mark.
Wambach, who began her professional career in 2002 with the Washington Freedom, has scored 160 times for the national team. Trailing Hamm’s 158 goals by two, she posted a hat trick in the first 29 minutes of the friendly at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The record-setter came in typical fashion: a powerful header. She added another goal in first-half stoppage time.
“Just watching those four goals, that’s what she is all about,” said Hamm, Wambach’s teammate on the Freedom in 2002-03 and the national team from 2001 to ’04. “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.”
The highest-scoring male player in soccer history is Iran’s Ali Daei (109 in 149 appearances).
Wambach, 33, has appeared in 207 U.S. matches.
Without the benefit of long-standing, established pro leagues, female players spend more time with their national teams over the course of their careers. The depth of competition globally is much deeper on the male side, as well.
Wambach’s postgame interview: