Retired soccer star Abby Wambach's new book is an extension of a commencement speech Wambach gave last year at Barnard College. (Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images)
Abby Wambach’s new goal is as important as the many she scored.
Wambach, whose 184 career goals are the most by any soccer player, male or female, has written a book, “Wolfpack,” that she hopes will be a blueprint for women to recognize the power they have and use it to create a better world, not only for themselves but for everyone.
“Things are not working now. It feels like something is on fire every single day,” Wambach told USA TODAY. “What I personally believe is that women have a unique ability to step into these very difficult situations and lead us into the promised land. And more peace. Statistics shows that when you give a woman a position of power, the trickle-down effect is real.
“I want the world to be different. It has to begin for every individual woman reclaiming their power.”
The book, out Tuesday (Celadon Books, 112 pp.), is an extension of a commencement speech Wambach gave last year at Barnard College. The speech was based on the lessons, confidence and, yes, power, that came out of the decade-plus Wambach played on the U.S. national team, winning the 2015 World Cup and Olympic gold in 2004 and 2012.
The national team was so successful because the women were not afraid to pursue their dreams and ask for what they wanted along the way, Wambach said in the speech and her book. The women also supported each other, recognizing that they were stronger working together than they would have been as individuals fighting one another.
The speech quickly went viral, and Wambach realized it was a message that could resonate with all women. And it was a message that all women would benefit from hearing.
“This book is my attempt to underscore how important it is to figure out what it is you do believe. And showing the world that there is a different way,” Wambach said. “Women sometimes have to be invited into their power … so this is my formal invitation to women everywhere.”
The lessons in Wambach’s book are simple and, frankly, no different than the ones men have always heard:
- You can lead.
- Be grateful, but be ambitious, too.
- Leaders can be found anywhere, not just in the top positions.
- Use your failures as fuel for next time.
- Champion each other.
- Ask for what you want.
- Lead with grace and humility.
- Surround yourself with people who will support you and hold you accountable.
"Wolfpack" by Abby Wambach (Photo: Celadon Books)
“We’ve been living by the old rules that insist that a woman must be perfect before she’s worthy of showing up,” Wambach writes in “Wolfpack.” “Since no one is perfect, this rule is an effective way to keep women out of leadership preemptively.
“It’s time for a new rule.”
Wambach’s book comes as the #MeToo movement is beginning to reshape American society. A record number of women were elected to the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. Men with a history of patronizing and demeaning women are being called to account for their behavior. Pay disparity has become a hot topic, including a lawsuit filed by the current members of the U.S. soccer team.
Wambach hopes her book will help women not only find their voices but use them to create a better, more equal society.
“We have kind of been at this tipping point for a while,” she said. “We have to get over this hump and, the more time goes on, the more I believe women will be given more access to power positions.”
“I just feel so grateful that this is the time I’m living in,” Wambach added. “I’m grateful I have a small part in it.”
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