Hope, USWNT Say Goodbye to Abby

Hope Solo and the United States Women’s National Team said goodbye to one of the most influential players in the history of the game on Wednesday.

Abby Wambach played her final match for the USWNT in New Orleans to close out the team’s 2015 World Cup Victory Tour.

Ahead of the game, Hope penned a blog post for The Cauldron, explaining what Abby means to her as a friend and teammate, and what she has meant to the USWNT, and to the game of soccer, as the all-time leading international goal scorer, for men or women.

“It’s not the everyday games, not the friendlies. It’s the big-game moments when you find the eyes of those you know will make things happen. Every team has a few people like that, those for whom no words are necessary,” Hope wrote. “It’s The Look: You’re going to do whatever you have to do. I’m going to do whatever I have to do. And we’re going to find a way to win. There’s something about how Abby and I found each other’s eyes in those moments. That look – that unbeatable confidence – is what I’ll miss the most.”

Abby played 72 minutes in her final match, leaving her career totals overwhelming: 255 appearances, 18,363 minutes, 184 goals, 73 assists, and most importantly, one final triumph: the 2015 World Cup championship.

The USWNT attack tried all match to set up one last goal for its legendary captain. However, that ultimately left the American offense empty handed against a determined China P.R. squad. The Chinese women broke through with a goal 58 minutes into the match on a shot that was deflected off defender Meghan Klingenberg and in through the right corner.

However, Wambach didn’t let the 1-0 loss spoil her farewell tour. She saw it as a fitting end of an era, and the symbolic beginning of a new age in U.S. soccer.

“It wasn’t about the result tonight, it was about celebrating the things I’ve put into this team,” Wambach said. “I’m so honored and blessed to have been able to be a part of this team for so many years and to bring home Olympic gold medals and the most recent World Cup trophy. I know people might think this is not the way we all want to end this thing, but I think symbolically it’s kind of pretty awesome.”