“All it takes is one!”
We were in the final minutes of overtime — injury time, actually — in the quarterfinal game of the 2011 World Cup, and we were losing to Brazil, 2-1. We had been playing for nearly an hour with 10 players. The clock was just ticking away. It felt like at any moment, the referee was going to blow the final whistle. You could feel questions creeping into everyone’s mind: “Could this really be it? Is our time over?”
Then we heard Abby scream it again, yelling across the field at all of us. “It only takes one shot! One chance! All it takes is one!”
The ball was deep in our end of the field. We won it off a Brazilian player and the ball got played up to Carli Lloyd. Carli beat a couple of defenders and pushed it up to Megan Rapinoe. And then Pinoe just hoofed the ball across the field. It didn’t even seem like she looked for Abby. She just knew that Abby would be there. It was an incredible ball.
Then Abby Wambach came out of nowhere, and in that moment, she carried the game on her shoulders. She made what happened next look easy — like it was meant to be — heading the ball right past the goalkeeper, and suddenly, we were alive, 2-2.
I look back at the photos and film of that moment, and I just laugh at myself. I’m supposed to be cool and edgy, and right after Abby scored, I’m jumping up and down like a little girl. My arms are going in every direction. My legs are going up and down. And all we’d done at that point was tie the game.
In the penalty shootout that followed, I went the wrong way in the first two rounds. I tried to stay focused and not let it get to me — it was just part of the game. Abby’s words kept replaying in my mind: “All it takes is one.” And as I waited for my chance to defend the third penalty kick, I just kind of gazed up into the stands, into our team’s friends and family section. Right at that moment, someone held up a single finger and mouthed to me, “It just takes one.”
When the next shooter for Brazil came up — I won’t say I knew where she was going, but I did feel it a little bit. I made the save, our last two kickers buried their shots, and we won the game. In the celebration that followed, Abby and I found each other and embraced. We both knew everything that it had taken to get to that point. The ups, the downs, the hardships — not just in that tournament, but throughout our time together on the U.S. team. It all came together in that moment of history: pure joy and happiness.
Abby and I met back in 2001 at a camp for the United States U-21 team. We were roommates, and when I think back to how we were back then, I can’t help but laugh out loud. I was some kind of mix of tomboy and preppy. Abby wore hats, t-shirts, baggy jeans and board shorts. I was quiet almost to the point of being timid. She was blunt and loud. We mostly related to each other on the field. She was a really good college player, strong in a way that was unlike anyone who had come before her. You could see all of the potential she had.
Years would pass until we really connected off the field. It began in 2008. Abby broke her leg a month before we were going to play in the Olympics. She was stuck at home, and it was a really tough time for her. She wrote me this incredible letter. I don’t want to share the specifics of what she wrote, but the gist of it was that she respected me and my ability as a goalkeeper. There was no one else she wanted on the field, she said, because she knew I’d do what it took to win.
It was a step forward for us, toward our new friendship and bond.
When she returned from her injury to the national team, we started having breakfast together regularly, almost every day. It wasn’t anything we planned. I don’t like my mornings to be rushed. I like to eat well before the team trains, so I was always one of the first at breakfast. So was Abby. She’d be doing a crossword or reading the newspaper, and having coffee. So we sat at the same table on those mornings, and slowly, we got to know each other, one-on-one.
We would never have become friends without those breakfasts. I’m really an introvert, a little bit on the shy side. Abby is an extrovert. Everyone always winds up listening to her stories at team dinners because she tells them in a way that only she can, and because everybody can hear her talking from a mile away. It’s hilarious. That’s Abby.
Neither of us opens up easily. But during our breakfasts, we’d read the paper, and talk about what was going on in the world. And as we started sharing beliefs and philosophies, we actually realized that we viewed a lot of things the same way. We shared a lot of interests. Both of us love the idea of living simply and being free, of camping and being outdoors. We both read a ton of books, and love learning about new things.
Abby also tries to see things from different perspectives, which I really have come to value. I first joined the national team at a very young age. I had very specific ideas of what a woman was supposed to be like, and how you were supposed to act. I really credit Abby with breaking down some of my misconceptions about womanhood. Breaking down barriers that women face athletically and professionally is something that Abby and I continue to do together. It’s some of our most vital work, and something we’re both extremely passionate about. We don’t necessarily agree on how to implement reform, but we both know that change is needed to progress.
Ultimately, there’s a realness about Abby, and a realness about me. That’s where we really connected at a core level. It was awesome. What started as mutual respect grew into a friendship that carries the most valuable qualities you can have in a friend, and for that matter, a teammate: the trust to always tell each other the truth even if we don’t want to hear it, and the trust that we will always be there for each other when we need each other most. She has become a tremendous friend. She is a free spirit with the biggest heart. In some of my hardest moments, I’ve gone to her, and in some of hers, she’s come to me. We’ve talked about our marriages, and our struggles in life. We’re very strong women who have an understanding of many different areas in life because of our experiences. We both know that life isn’t easy. There’s a great amount of respect for one another. It’s really touching to me to know that I can always go to her, and I know she feels the same way.
Abby is an incredible leader, and she leads us in so many ways. In the World Cup, a huge number of goals — and a lot of game-winning goals — are scored on set pieces, either corner kicks or free kicks. There is nobody on any team for any country who is as good as Abby is on set pieces. And I don’t just mean offensively. Everybody is 100 percent more comfortable with Abby on the field defensively when there are set pieces, too. No one really speaks about how important that role is. But I feel a great connection to Abby every game because she’s a huge defensive component for us, too. On corner kicks, she’s the center of our defensive zone, and it usually comes down to her. I trust her 100 percent in that role. Whether we’re on offense or defense, our spacing and timing are different if she’s not on the field for set pieces.
Abby is also always the one who’s at the center of our circle, firing everyone up with her pregame speeches. She’s super intense. What’s funny, though — in a really endearing way — is that every so often, Abby gets so excited and amped up that she can’t get the words out. People start making eye contact and smiling across the huddle, and then someone lets out a laugh, and then we all start cracking up, Abby included. And in its own way, it cuts the tension before the game, and everyone feels calm and ready to play.
But more than anything, Abby makes things happen, which is kind of what you’d expect from the leading international goal scorer in the history of soccer, men and women. It doesn’t matter if she has a rod in her leg. It doesn’t matter if she’s in pain or has stitches or staples in her head from hitting heads with another player. It doesn’t really matter how she’s feeling on that particular day. Abby thrives under pressure, and whenever we have needed her in the past, she has been there. Once this World Cup begins in Canada, she will be there for us again.
And just having someone like that on our team inspires all of us. Because when everything is on the line, when the final minutes of a game are ticking away and hope seems lost, when the only thing that can save us is a miracle, we know.
All it takes is one more chance. All it takes is one more shot. All it takes is one.
Great words, great women the lot of you….
Wow. What a description of your friendship with abby. You both can be happy that you met each other and connect so well. Great.
and yes. All it takes is one. I believe you can win this world cup. One! This one. All it takes is this one!!!
Beautifully written. I am so happy to see you lean into discomfort more and share more of yourself with your teammates and the world. Keep writing, Hope; your words keepisode us fans going – knowing there’s a family #1N1T
Great arrticle, Hope! Good luck from California! I know you will do an amazing job!
You’ve both come a long ways since 2007. It’s your last ride together. Your birthday is just after the World Cup ends, and I hope you can have a triple party after; her birthday celebration, your birthday celebration, and that Cup being passed around as well.
Another well written piece and I enjoy the insight. Best of everything to you. USA!!!!
Wow! That was SO beautifully written Hope! I run a facebook fan page called Abby Wambach’s Inspiration Nation and those words truly just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for being so open and honest. I hope everyone on the fan page will read that. I have traveled to watch you all play from LA, to NY, to Portugal, and now my wife are heading up to Vancouver (it’s our late honeymoon). We’ll be cheering for you all on June 16th and July 5th!!! Best of luck, you have my full support….as well as everyone from the facebook fan page…we are growing rapidly!!
Beautiful words. Both are incredible people. “All it takes is one more chance. All it takes is one more shot. All it takes is one.” -By Hope Solo.
Wow! Beautifully said.
Thank you for such an incredible story. It’s funny–basketball is my favorite sport, but my favorite team is the WNT, hands down, and part of that is the openness and commitment of women like you. I love the story of how your friendship developed: over breakfast and the morning paper! You pay her such an amazing honor with your words. (Speaking of which–your writing itself is wonderful. I do love a well-constructed sentence!) I also read the Allison Glock article for ESPN. Your candor and wit made me a fan even more than I was before. Go bring back the Cup. (I was talking with a friend about why we would win and one of my reasons: “Hope Freakin’ Solo.”)
wow! I didn’t know you and abby are that close and I’m glad you have this blog to really know you how special you are. your such an inspiration and good luck in canada!
Loved reading this Hope! And I loved getting to meet you at the Mexico vs. USA match in Carson, California back on May 17th. Thank you for taking the time to greet us that night. It was inceedible! My sister was SO happy to get a picture with you! I was in tears! I wish you guys success-bring home that world cup! And say hi to Alex for me! I went to Berkeley with her and actually had her in my comparative political science class back in 2010! Such a smart and sweet girl. Love you guys! Go USA!!! 🙂
The night we got to meet you 🙂 https://youtu.be/0fWlxaADReo
this is a beautiful story of how women come to be friends through respect and admiration. I hope that many women read this article and learn that this admiration for one another is a symbol of love for another human. Your message doesn’t go unheard, Hope. Yes, you are both great players. But what’s more important is that you are loving women
I cried reading this. What a lovely and well written story about an amazing teammate. This just goes to show you how much this team respects each other. We need to win this World Cup for the US and to send Abby home with a bang. She will be missed.
Thank you for sharing this. Can’t wait to see this put into play during the next few weeks! Your and Abby’s strength inspires us all. Good luck in Canada you’ll do great, my best goes out to you and the team during this incredible journey.
You two are amazing players bring home the cup
Reading that entry truly filled my heart with joy! Getting to know about the bond two of the greatest players of all time share is a blessing.
Back in 2011 I was one of the many German fans cheering for you from the stands in my hometown Dresden. Soccer didn’t mean much to me before that game against Brazil. It just changed everything. Especially seeing you and Abby play just showed me what a beautiful kind of game soccer is. I’m such a big fan now that I even flew to Seattle last year to see you play again!
I just wanted to thank you for that. For changing my life and for sharing the love for the game with everyone around the world. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! And thank you for being such an inspiration!!
Now get that cup and show everyone that you deserve it! Go USWNT!! #Shebelieves
Just when I thought I couldn’t get more inspired by everything you guys do… Whenever I feel like I can’t make it, or do something, I look to you guys and every time I feel like I can. Keep going, you guys inspire so many people everyday. U.S. all the way in Canada! Good luck to you all.
I am 10 years old and am one of 2 goalie’s on my soccer team. I also play offense. Last night at my soccer game, on offense, i scored a goal. My coach put in as Goal Keeper for the second half, this is where i shine. I had 4 saves, my mom said the last one was a whopper of a save!! I havent missed one of your games in Canada. Thank you for being such a great player, one that I wish to be like on the field. I live in Abby’s hometown and my mom met her and got her autograph for me, she was very nice and took her time with talking to my mom, asking about me and my sister and how we like soccer. i look forward to the day of meeting my favorite Goal Keeper, you.
HOPE Solo, YOU are an incredible writer! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences, your perspective from the field. And THANK YOU for being passionate about the unique challenges facing female athletes and professionals. Bless your heart.
Great read. Very cool seeing the inroads that you and your teammates are making for women in sports. Congrats on the big win today and big props to you for keeping your focus and playing a great tournament.
The both of you guys are incredible. Hope, this is a beautiful piece of you that you share with us. Thanks for that! Its really impresive how the world works and how God just put in our ways so incredible persons that mark us.
All my respect to you guys and the respect of my teammates of the National team of Puerto Rico.
Thanks for giving us such an incredible Final yesterday vs Japan. Because of you, players with such an amazing heart and corage, we will keep working hard for one day be at the side of you guys; Playing against or together! Its our Goal.
Abby, Thanks for all these years that you open your heart to defend with all that it takes your family, friends and Country! You are Amaizing.
Hope and Abby, I am a huge fan of you and your team. I am not really the sporty kind, but you gals are amazing in the FIFA and Olympic games. You are inspiring and motivating, and always showing your positive energy which delight the fans all over the globe. I love your group dynamic and friendship.
Stay strong, healthy, beautiful, and vibrant! Congratulations for winning this year’s World Cup!
Your fan in the Philippine Islands,
Wowwww…, it is really amazing storie from your friendship. I am happy with you 🙂
nicely written, keep up the great work. I am so happy my soccer loving daughters have all of you amazing women to look up to!
I have never watch soccer so intensely as I had this summer. You all make a great team!! This is the best team I know. I hope my daughter will find the drive that you all did. This is so touching. There is more than just soccer, Wambach & you deep and beautiful. Keep supporting each other! I love our US Women Soccer Team. So much talent!! Keep being you. Use your power to influence young girls who loves watching you. Thank you!
I enjoy reading your writing Hope! I remember that game so well and when I re-read your post and watched the video clip I got chills (again) and that game was over 4 years ago!
Awesome I’m glad ythat you guys are friends and I would probably do the same thing.
I have never watch soccer so intensely as I had this summer. You all make a great team!! This is the best team I know. I hope my daughter will find the drive that you all did. This is so touching. There is more than just soccer, Wambach & you deep and beautiful. Keep supporting each other! I love our US Women Soccer Team. So much talent!! Keep being you. Use your power to influence young girls who loves watching you. Also, do you have any pictures of her naked in the locker room?