Abby Wambach ‘planning on playing’ in Rio, ‘still need time to decide’
Abby Wambach said she’s “planning on playing” at the Rio Olympics next summer but needed time to make future decisions, speaking on a morning TV show in her native Rochester, N.Y., on Wednesday.
“What’s next for me, my life plan, I haven’t decided about what I’m going to do,” Wambach said (video here). “I’m planning on playing next summer in Rio, but I gotta let my body recover, because that’s the other thing about playing on artificial surface. Seven games is a lot of games [at the World Cup], and it wasn’t a long period of time we were playing over. So my body took some hits, and I’m trying to recover. I’m going to vacation with my family over the next couple of weeks. ... I’m excited to go and vacation, get away from a little bit of the whirlwind I’ve been on, to rest, relax and to be able to make maybe some of those future decisions.”
Wambach also said, “If I’m asked to play on the team, at that point I’m going to have to make a decision the next couple of months depending on my fitness level and whatnot,” according to Yahoo. “I’m getting older, definitely not getting younger, but the reality is, if I’m asked to play for my country it might be difficult to say no. But I haven’t made any definitive decisions yet.”
Wambach, 35, said before the World Cup and directly after winning it July 5 that she would take the weeks and months following the World Cup, even into next year, to decide on the Olympics, seeing how her body feels.
Wambach, international soccer’s all-time leading scorer, won gold with the U.S. in 2004 and 2012. She missed the Beijing 2008 Olympics due to a broken leg suffered one month before the Games.
Wambach will turn 36 two months before the Rio Olympics. Two U.S. players older than that have played in the Olympics since women’s soccer was added in 1996 — Christie Rampone in 2012 and Joy Fawcett in 2004, according to sports-reference.com.
It would be tougher for Wambach to make the 2016 Olympics than the 2015 World Cup not only because she will be one year older, but also because the Olympic roster size is 18 players. The World Cup was 23 players.
The U.S. is stacked with attackers to challenge Wambach for roster spots and playing time, including Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez.