Posted at: 01/14/2013 9:31 AM
Updated at: 01/14/2013 7:45 PM
By: Robin De Wind
The box office at Sahlen's Stadium has been busy since it was announced on Friday that Pittsford native Abby Wambach will be playing for the Western New York Flash. The U.S. Soccer star talked Monday about coming back to play in her hometown.
News10NBC wanted to know why Abby chose to come back to Rochester versus the easier choice of playing in Portland where she just bought a new home.
When Abby Wambach comes to town, it's an event. Thousands have packed Sahlen's Stadium just to get a chance to see the local superstar play. This summer, fans will have eleven home game opportunities to watch Wambach on the soccer field as she takes the lead for the Western New York Flash.
While Abby admits she plays her best when her family is in the stands, she ultimately chose to come home for the greater good of the new National Women's Soccer league.
Abby Wambach said, “The Western New York Flash seem to be the most professional run WPS team in terms of how they run their sessions, the timing of everything and of course, in the end, they were crowded champions in the last year of the WPS so there were so many different reasons that went into me making this decision. Yes, of course, this was something that I thought about. “
With two previous leagues that have gone under due to finances, Wambach feels personally responsible for the next generation. Wanting the league to survive and thrive with a salary cap and financing from all three North American soccer federations, she feels confident about the future.
Wambach said, “We want this to be a fully professional league. We know that there is a way to start that and I think the model that we have on the table now, in our opinion, is probably the best model in order to move it forward. And thankfully the federation is stepped in and saw the value in it.”
Maintaining her privacy won't be easy, the Flash practice in Buffalo, where Wambach will live, and play in Rochester, but she says she's okay with the anticipated attention. If people support women's soccer, she will have scored her ultimate goal.
Wambach said, “The team gets more popular with me in its cities and I also think that the other teams around the country will be able to create and grow these other players that will become famous.”
Abby insists that establishing a solid league is critical to the next generation of players so that the U.S. Can remain competitive in the Olympics and World Cup. Getting people in the stands leads to corporate dollars which will solidify the league. She adds the success of the Olympics has only made her want to lengthen her years of playing.