010713_wambachabby_isi_uswntolyjt0810122037 John Todd/isiphotos.com

Abby Wambach Named Women’s Player of the Year

The United States forward caps of an impressive season, winning the Ballon d'Or over teammate Alex Morgan and Marta. Lionel Messi, Vicente del Bosque, and Pia Sundhage also took home trophies.
BY Maura Gladys Posted
January 07, 2013
11:31 AM
For the first time in more than a decade, an American player holds the title of world’s best female soccer player.

Abby Wambach was named FIFA Women’s Player of the Year on Monday afternoon, the first time an American has won the Ballon d'Or since Mia Hamm earned back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. The forward earned 20.67 percent of the votes, besting United States teammate Alex Morgan (10.87 percent) and Brazilian star Marta (13.50 percent).

Both Americans were deserving of the honor after leading the USWNT to its third consecutive Olympic gold medal and putting up staggering statistics along the way. Wambach led the U.S. goal haul at the London Games with five, and finished 2012 with 27 goals and 8 assists, while Morgan netted 28 goals and 21 assists on the year, including three in London.

Wambach, who won both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot award at the 2012 Olympic Games, was humble in her acceptance of the award, which was presented to her by fellow U.S. teammate Hope Solo.

"I’m very, very surprised,” Wambach said after the ceremony. “Individual honors only happen if you have great teams and great people who have given you the chance to be here... I don’t think of myself as the best player in the world, just a player who plays on the best team in the world.”

On the men's side Lionel Messi won his fourth straight Player of the Year award while Spain's Vicente del Bosque took home Coach of the Year.

Former USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage won FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year honors as well. She capped off her acceptance speech with a trademark serenade to Wambach, Morgan, and their teammates, signing a quick rendition of Bob Dylan’s “If Not For You.”

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