Soccer legend Abby Wambach is hanging up her cleats

One of our absolutely favorite soccer stars is saying goodbye to the sport she loves at the end of this season. Abby Wambach is set to retire at the end of this year, after the World Cup team finishes their victory tour in December. Her last match will be on December 16th in New Orleans, when the US team faces off against China.

While this totally bums us out, Wambach is ready to head on to new things. She’s actually been with the United States Women’s National Soccer Team since 2001. By the time she retires, she’ll have clocked 15 years on the field. That’s also not including her career with the Women’s United Soccer Association where she’s played on and off for the last 13 years, and that’s still on top of the two Summer Olympics that she’s played in with two Gold Meals to prove it. AND, that’s still not even including the four FIFA World Cups she’s been selected for, helping lead the US team to victory this past year in a breathtaking match that had us glued to our televisions. Just all in days’ work for Wambach.

She also completely melted our hearts when she ran off the soccer field after winning the World Cup to kiss her wife, Sarah Huffman, in the stands. And then we were all like “WHO IS CHOPPING ONIONS IN HERE, we are trying to watch soccer!”

Oh, and over these last 13 years, she’s scored 184 goals, which makes her the leading all-time international scorer for women and men.

So if there’s anyone who deserves a good, solid break—to sit back and relax—it’s Wambach.

“After much deliberation and talking with my friends, family, teammates and our coaching staff, I’ve decided to finally bring my soccer career to an end,” Wambach explained in a statement to press. “While we still have more work to do for women’s soccer, after bringing the World Cup back to the United States this summer, I’m feeling extremely optimistic about the future of our sport. It’s been an amazing, wonderful ride and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of my life brings.”

Coach Jill Ellis added, “What she has done for women’s soccer and women’s sports over all with her amazing talents on the field and her personality off it has been inspiring to watch. I am just extremely happy that she could end her career with that elusive World Cup title and go out on top.”

Wambach has already taken to Twitter to thank her fans for all the love and support, and has already teased what might be next for her over on Instagram. Maybe motherhood, but who knows what the future holds (the baby on her shoulder is her niece, so don’t get too excited just yet).

Even though we won’t be able to watch Wambach play soccer anymore, that doesn’t mean that she’s gone from the sport forever, let alone our lives. She’ll still be around, and we’re excited to see what she does next.

(Image via Shutterstock)