Abby Wambach: Supporters Flock to Rochester for Wambach's Homecoming Reception
Abby Wambach's Record Breaking Homecoming Demonstrates 2011 Women's World Cup Impact on American Fans
The US lost in the Women's World Cup Final to Japan, but Abby Wambach's homecoming proves that the US emerged victorious from the tournament, regardless of the final result.
The phrase "moral victory" is grossly overused. It seems as though people are always trying to find some benefit to cling to in defeat. The phrase actually applies here though, as this Women's World Cup may not only affect future Women's World Cups, but the perception of soccer in America and female sports in general.
While most Americans probably wouldn't have been able to name three female soccer players in history prior to the tournament, players like Wambach, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan have become heroines of the US.
15,404 fans turned out to show up to a homecoming match for Wambach, one in which she didn't even play in. Her equalizing header in stoppage time of extra time against Brazil captivated the nation. Her resiliency and leadership became infectious, not just for her team, but for fans as well.
People who had no interest in soccer were tuning in to see what Wambach and Co. would do. The 15,404 fans at a WPS match in which Wambach didn't play speaks volumes to just how big of a step the US took.
It's going to be interesting to see how the US rallies against the men's team in the 2013 World Cup, but it's hard to believe that they will be able to trump the performance the women put on.
While the US may have won the Women's World Cup in 1999, support for the team has never been greater than it is right now. Wambach has appeared on Letterman, but there is no greater indication of the effect she has had on her fans than the warm reception she received in Rochester, NY.
People wondered whether we would ever see the next Mia Hamm. Wambach solidified herself in USNT lore with her stellar performance at the Women's World Cup. She doesn't need a trophy to see the impact she had on her country.
While Wambach would undoubtedly want a Women's World Cup victory more than fame and glory, it has to help soften the blow of defeat.
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