Wambach to play for the Western New York Flash

Posted at: 01/11/2013 6:21 AM
Updated at: 01/11/2013 5:42 PM
By: Robin De Wind

Soccer sensation Abby Wambach is returning to her home turf. The Olympic gold medalist will be playing Rochester this season.

U.S. Soccer officials announced that Wambach will play with the Western New York Flash at Sahlen Stadium and it's pretty exciting news not only for her family to get to see her play, but the entire Rochester community.

Friday was “Allocation Day” for the new National Women's Soccer League and the big question Friday morning was will Abby Wambach be playing in Rochester for the Western New York Flash?

Wambach will be joined by U.S. Teammate Carli Lloyd. In all 55 players, 23 Americans and 16 top players each from Canada and Mexico were assigned.

Wambach's top choice was to play in Rochester. She is on a career high coming off her U.S. Women's Soccer Team gold medal victory. She was named the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year and she is six goals shy of tying Mia Hamm's world record of 158.

Wambach is expected to draw larger crowds for Flash games. The team averaged 5,000 fans. That number includes special events, games that were attended by Wambach. Sahlen's Stadium general manager Pat Ercoli expects the 11 home games will be a hot ticket.      

Ercoli said, "There's an opportunity when those teams come in with Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Sinclair that you'll have those rivalries, so I still feel like there will be some big bumps at some of those games, but I think the average attendance will go up just with having Abby here.  I would hope and based on the activity on the phone already here that we would average somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 thousand people, 7 or 8 thousand. "  

Now seven of the eight teams have three U.S. National players on their team. Rochester is the lone team with two national players. U.S. Soccer President Saneal Gulati says that's because Rochester was given the world's best player.

Abby was not on the league's conference call. News10NBC is trying to get reaction from her.

The box office at Sahlen's Stadium will be open Saturday from 9:00am to 2:00pm for people interested in buying season tickets. For more information, click here.