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US star Wambach wins Womens World Player of the Year
Published : 07 Jan 2013 21:17:04
US football veteran Abby Wambach, 32, wins Women's World Player of the Year for the first time at the FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony.
The forward's five goals in the London Olympics were credited with leading her team to the gold over Japan. That a win was particularly meaningful for Team USA after losing to Japan in the 2011 Women's World Cup final. She is the first American to win the award since Mia Hamm in 2002.
Wambach bested Brazil's Marta and her teammate Alex Morgan in the voting, which is decided by a poll of captains, national team coaches and international media. Wambach earned 20.67 percent of the votes to 13.50 for Marta and 10.87 for Alex Morgan.
"Most importantly, winning any individual award is a total product of the team that you play for," the striker said. "I've never scored a goal without receiving a pass from my team-mates. Thanks to all the fans out there who continue to inspire me and the rest of the team to win as many games as we can."
Wambach began international play in 2001 when she was chosen for the U-21 national team. She also played with Hamm on the Washington Freedom during the short-lived US women's football league.
With 152 international goals, Wambach is closing in on Hamm's record of 158.
Argentine legend Lionel Messi won the prestigious award for the men's side. It was his record fourth win.