Abby Wambach is a veteran. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
She's had as much success as any female soccer player in the world. And more importantly she's had more success than any U.S. soccer player ever.
Of course she is not alone. In the annuls of U.S. women's soccer are Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain (if for nothing other than penning the ultimate moment in USA soccer history) and even Hope Solo, to name but a few.
Hamm and Foudy both presented more star power and fame. Neither, however, won with the precision and consistency that Wambach's USA teams have.
It is those traits which have made Wambach the most impressive player to have laced up the cleats for the USA women's soccer program.
In 18 World Cup games Wambach has scored 13 goals. If you count all FIFA world competition she has scored 20 goals in 26 games.
In other words, she is one of the world's preeminent goal scorers in the women's game.
But at age 32, and with loads of experience, it is undoubtedly leadership that Wambach is most precious for in the eyes of her coaches and teammates.
Abby understands the role older generations have had on her career to this point. As such she wants to take everything she has learned and give back to a younger generation of players. That's why she is so urgent in giving back to the younger generation of soccer players.
More importantly she knows this USA team can learn so much from the way she plays the game with great intensity and passion. That passion eeks out of her jersey and pores as she is flying down the field aiming for another goal.
Her hustle and hard work creates an atmosphere on her team of aggression and perseverance. The team, as seen in the 2011 World Cup, never thinks the game is over.
That attitude permeates throughout the entire squad to give them all the motivation they need.
Team USA is relentless. And it all starts with Abby Wambach.