Forward by Abby Wambach is a candid look of one of the most prolific female athletes of our time. Whether you are familiar with Abby Wambach or not, this is a memoir that illustrates no matter your legacy of professional skills and talent, private struggles will eventually invade your success and impact every part of your life.

At five years old, Abby Wambach discovered that she had a talent for scoring soccer goals. But it wasn’t the thrill of scoring that drove her. It was the attention of her mother that propelled young Abby to score more goals than anyone else. Being the youngest of seven children, Abby learned early that soccer was the key to getting the attention she craved from her parents. What Abby couldn’t understand at such a young age was that soccer would become the currency she could pull out anytime to barter for security, acceptance, and even love.

In her captivating memoir, Wambach takes us on a journey through her life. From a young girl playing on the boys’ soccer team, to a rebellious teen coming to terms with her talent and her sexuality and ending with the athlete who struggled to reconcile her professional success with her personal turmoil. Read in her own words Abby’s tale of resilience, redemption, and acceptance of life’s challenges with fearlessness of heart.

Owning Labels

Many of us acquire labels in early childhood. These may be seemingly insignificant or descriptive of personality characteristics. As we continue to grow and develop, this list of labels becomes longer and more intricate and complicated. Some are positive – leader, mentor, lover – and others are negative – fraud, coward, addict. The only thing they have in common is they apply to a specific individual and the uniqueness of her life.

Most of Wambach’s labels are easy to identify, but her willingness to share the ones people are not most familiar with is courageous.  She focuses on each label that defines the person she has become. Each label marks significant experiences in her life – from her first time playing soccer as a child to her retirement in 2015. Each one has their defining moment of clarity when that label took center stage on her being. I must applaud Wambach for her candor. She doesn’t hide the truth, and she doesn’t shy away from the pain. In doing so, Wambach triggers a reaction, especially from this reader, to acknowledge the labels of my life and discern what the final word will be for me.

The Pros

This book is very raw in its depiction of the emotions, the condition, and the turmoil that Wambach experienced in her life. I loved the openness, and the authenticity that rarely is glimpsed in the lives of celebrity athletes. It is refreshing because usually when an autobiography is released the person is focusing on the positive aspects in their lives. While they may delve into some of the hardships they experience, they often lack depth and substance. Wambach bares it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Before reading her story, I already knew about Abby Wambach the athlete. Now I understand more about Abby Wambach the woman.

The Cons

Abby Wambach is a role model for people of all ages. With that in mind, it must be addressed that this book is not for young children. Wambach was smart enough to release a kid-friendly version of her book at the same time. So, if you’re a parent and want your kids to read her story, I would recommend picking up that version for them to read.

annas favourite booksThe Conclusion

Writing a memoir is never easy, especially when you make the choice to reveal everything that is good, bad, and downright terrifying. Wambach opens up her heart and her soul to everyone in this book. If there is anything I can take away from it, it’s empathy: Empathy for the little girl vying for attention of two parents among six siblings; Empathy for the rebellious teenager learning her identity on and off the soccer pitch; And most certainly, empathy for the woman who traveled to some dark places in the search for love and acceptance, returning stronger and resilient. If you take away nothing else from this exceptional story, take away this. We all struggle with our own personal demons. For those of us who struggle more than others, we need to offer our compassion, and above all, our love.

Excerpt from Forward by Abby Wambach

One day after soccer practice, my parents and I stop at the Macaroni Grill. I still remember my precise outfit at seventeen: white turtleneck, blue corduroy pants, Doc Martens, and a bright yellow North Face jacket I’d saved up to buy. Our server approaches, wearing a crisp white shirt and skinny tie. She’s eighteen years old, has long brown hair and green eyes and seems to be smiling only at me.

I can’t look directly at her. I can’t look away. I like her. I like her in a way I have never liked Teddy.

I don’t remember ordering, or what my parents talk about; their words coast over me, and there’s a booming silence in my ears, and my heart lurches against my chest. Energy thrums through every limb; my feet tap and my fingers shake. When the server walks away to get our drinks, I pick up a crayon from the table’s basket and doodle a soccer ball, willing myself to calm. I feel as though a switch has been flipped inside me, blinking neon and illuminating my secrets for all the world to see.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9780062466983
  • Publisher: Dey Street Books

Abby Wambach Online

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