Soccer

‘I didn’t wish to face the reality’: U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach opens up about alcohol, prescription drug abuse

Abby Wambach says she abused alcohol and prescribed drugs for years till her arrest for driving underneath the affect in April.

“I used to be cussed and I used to be in denial,” soccer’s most prolific worldwide objective scorer informed The Related Press in a telephone interview. “I didn’t wish to face the reality.”

In “Ahead,” her memoir set for launch on Tuesday, the retired U.S. nationwide group star recounts her profession, from the lows of shedding her highschool championship to the highs of successful the Girls’s World Cup final 12 months. She additionally chronicles her high-profile marriage to fellow soccer participant Sarah Huffman and the struggles they confronted.

And she or he tells of her bouts with vodka and tablets, which included Vicodin, Ambien and Adderall.

Chapters within the e-book are phrases that she has been labeled: tomboy, captain, lesbian, and sure, addict.

“That evening getting arrested was among the best issues that has ever occurred to me. As a result of if I don’t get so publicly shamed and publicly humiliated, I don’t assume I get up,” she stated as she ready for a e-book tour. “I believe I used to be asleep for lots of years. Asleep to the pleas from my household and buddies, and even myself, to get assist. In order that evening I used to be humiliated sufficient to get up.”

With 184 objectives, Wambach is the main profession scorer — male or feminine — in worldwide soccer. She retired in December after 15 years with the U.S. ladies’s nationwide group.

Elena Seibert / Courtesy of Dey Road books by way of AP Elena Seibert / Courtesy of Dey Road books

She says she has been sober for the reason that evening she was pulled over in Portland, Oregon, after dinner with buddies. It was her all-time low: Her mugshot was in all places the subsequent morning.

This was not what she imagined her legacy to be.

Wambach stated that evening was a end result of occasions as her life spiraled uncontrolled. Her marriage was on the rocks, she was wrestling together with her retirement and her course, and she or he had simply taken a brand new job with ESPN.

She issued a press release on Fb after she was launched from jail the subsequent morning, taking full accountability for her actions and apologizing to her buddies, household and followers. Within the aftermath, MINI USA withdrew her from its promoting.

She pleaded responsible, agreeing to enter a diversion program for first-time offenders that included remedy.

Within the e-book, she by no means pins down a second that alcohol and medicines began to develop into an issue. Like so many who’ve shared her expertise, it developed over time. These closest to her tried to succeed in out, together with Huffman, fellow nationwide group participant Sydney Leroux and pal Kara Mirarchi.

“Not solely was I hiding this secret from the world for therefore lengthy, so have been the people who I beloved — they beloved me so fiercely they wished to guard me as a lot as potential, virtually from myself. Sarah was undoubtedly one among my saving graces as a result of she was one of many first individuals in my life who made me conscious of the issues that I used to be having,” Wambach stated. “And this was years in the past. This isn’t one thing that simply snuck up on me once I retired from soccer. That is one thing I’ve been coping with for years now.”

Wambach capped her illustrious profession with the game’s most prestigious championship when america defeated Japan 5-2 in Canada final summer time for the Girls’s World Cup. It was the third World Cup title for the U.S. ladies and first since 1999.

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Workplace by way of AP Multnomah County Sheriff’s Offic

The FIFA World Participant of the Yr in 2012, Wambach appeared in 4 World Cups with the nationwide group. She additionally has a pair of Olympic gold medals from the 2004 Video games in Athens and the 2012 Video games in London. She didn’t compete within the Beijing Video games due to a damaged leg.

Wambach introduced her retirement final October and performed her final match with the group in December, a 1-Zero victory tour loss to China in New Orleans. She stated she seems again at footage from that recreation and her eyes appear hole.

Wambach turned extra energetic tackling social and political points within the later years of her profession, and has been outspoken about gender fairness specifically. She led a bunch of gamers in protesting FIFA’s determination to play the 2015 World Cup on synthetic turf, which is taken into account by many to be inferior to grass.

In retirement, she has campaigned for Hillary Clinton for president. She additionally has a weekly podcast and different work for ESPN. However most significantly, she’s engaged on turning into a “entire human being” now that she’s not numbing herself.

Wambach and Huffman, whose kiss following the World Cup victory turned one of the memorable images of the match, couldn’t work out their variations and are divorcing.

In her interview with the AP, Wambach was far much less guarded than she’d been in previous conversations. After earlier this 12 months proclaiming “I don’t get nervous,” her feelings have been extra on the floor as she sincerely admitted her foibles.

“It’s actually exhausting to speak about issues if you’re ashamed,” she stated. “And I’m not ashamed about what occurred to me anymore as a result of it led me to the place I’m at proper now. I’m pleased with the place I’m at.”

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