The forever cloudy skies of Rochester, NY were a bit brighter on allocation day when the nation found out that Abby Wambach would be playing for the Western New York Flash in the National Women’s Soccer League’s inaugural season. But no one could be happier than Wambach herself as she describes it as, “a dream come true” to be playing so close to her hometown, but also for the continued growth of the league.
”It was the right choice for me and for the league,” she said. ”Of course I would love to have been in Portland, but I really do think it was and is the best decision for the game, for this league, so that it can strive and not just survive.”
The allocation announcement, which felt like it took ages to come out, was well worth the wait and very important to the league.
“The allocation process is huge and not to be taken lightly,” Wambach said. “I was really impressed with the players that have gotten allocated. More Women’s National Team players from the US, Canada and Mexico make the teams better and make the games more interesting.”
Even with all the hype and sheer excitement, many still have that looming question: will this league fail like the other two leagues have failed?
“The problem was money,” Wambach said, “[In the NWSL] franchises will be responsible for bills themselves and US Soccer, the Mexican Federation, and the Canadian Federation will fund their players, which will make the biggest difference. It will cut the biggest overhead, which is the salary cap … I think that we have to take what we can get, and some of the players are probably unfortunately going to have to have other jobs, which in my opinion isn’t hopefully the long vision, the long-sighted vision of where we want to go.”
Wambach will be taking accountability for the NWSL as she considers the fall of the WPS something that fell on her shoulders.
“I took it as a responsibility and a failure on my part that the last previous leagues didn’t succeed,” Wambach said. “Sometimes it takes a little bit of sacrifice in order to get something good.”
Wambach said it best that one of the main goals of the league is “it’s about making sure the next generation has an opportunity to play and that’s the thing that a lot of us haven’t had in a while.”
The NWSL kicks off in just a few short months, and although there is still a lot of work to be done, it seems like Wambach is ready to tackle it head on.