ESPN Body Issue 2012: Magazine Will Push Abby Wambach's Legacy to New Heights

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2012

FRISCO, TX - FEBRUARY 11:  Abby Wambach #20 of USA during an international friendly with New Zealand at FC Dallas Stadium on February 11, 2012 in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Abby Wambach is getting up there in her soccer years, but she is still just 32. At least she's young enough to pose in this year's edition of ESPN's Body Issue.

Wambach already was one of American soccer's all-time superstars. She's right there with Mia Hamm in terms of all-time legacy, and her winning resume trumps that of any male player.

Taking part in this photo shoot humanizes Wambach.

We've seen her nail a number of flying headers into the back of the net. Her 5'11'' frame gives her a superb advantage over most opposing defenders and she takes full advantage of it.

Since 2003, she has scored 138 goals in 182 international appearances. Mia Hamm scored 158 goals in 275 appearances. Wambach has scored 20 fewer goals than Hamm, but she's played in nearly 100 fewer games.

No one will ever doubt Hamm's legendary status. She molded generations of youth female soccer players and enjoyed many years of unbridled exposure and success.

This is different because Wambach is the only one to put herself out there like this. She is instantly becoming more marketable.

Female soccer doesn't have a year-round following, but Wambach is making sure awareness is there. She may not be playing soccer in the issue, but you know the sport she plays. You're aware of why she's famous and what got her included in this montage.

Wambach is a powerful and dominant player on the soccer pitch, but she's also making a name for herself off the field. After doing this issue, debating her and Hamm's legacy gets closer.

Hamm may still hold the advantage in goals, but Wambach's inclusion in this year's Body Issue gives her something outside of the soccer field.