CHICAGO (Oct. 20, 2011) – U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach was named the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) Sportswoman of the Year for team sports Wednesday night at the 32nd Annual Salute to Women in Sports Award Gala in New York City.
WSF Founder Billie Jean King, WSF President Laila Ali, former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Academy Award-winning actress Holly Hunter were among the high profile attendees alongside notable athletes such as Venus Williams (tennis), Maya Moore (basketball), Mallory Weggemann (swimming), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), and members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
Wambach received the esteemed Sportswoman of the Year Award, given to an individual athlete in a team sport who exhibits exceptional performances over a 12-month time span. Wambach earned this award for her triumphant season, which included being named the 2010 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year (for the fourth time) and named to the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Best XI in October 2010.
Wambach scored four goals at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, one in each of the final four matches. That of course included her dramatic overtime header in the quarterfinal against against Brazil that knotted the match, sending it into a penalty kick shootout where the USA triumphed. Her four goals made her the USA’s all-time leading scorer in Women’s World Cup history with a total of 13, moving her past the great Michelle Akers.
Wambach also tied for second in WPS with nine goals despite playing only 11 regular season matches due to National Team commitments. During the 2010 WPS season, she scored 13 goals (good for second in WPS) and eight assists (tied for second) while piling up six multiple-goal games.
Wambach is just the second women’s soccer player to win the award. Past winners include Venus and Serena Williams, softball player Jessica Mendoza and Mia Hamm. This year, the winner was selected based on a total score collected from the public and the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Awards Committee.