SEC Storied: Abby Head On
A phenom from Rochester, NY, Abby Wambach defied convention by spurning soccer dynasty North Carolina in favor of the University of Florida, an upstart program which, at the time, was only in its fourth year of existence. That decision paid off quickly, as in her 1998 freshman season Wambach helped the Gators nab the SEC's first and only national championship in soccer - defeating the powerhouse Tar Heels in the final.
With four SEC Tournament titles, two SEC Player of the Year awards and the title of all-time leading scorer at Florida, Wambach positioned herself as a top pick in the 2002 WUSA draft. Selected by the Washington Freedom, she starred alongside icon Mia Hamm and earned a roster spot on an already talent-laden U.S. women's national team, for which she has starred for the last decade.
Wambach cemented her spot in soccer lore in a quarterfinal match against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup, scoring a signature goal with her head in the waning seconds of extra time to prevent an embarrassing early exit from the tournament. Wambach's heroics propelled her team to victory and ignited interest in women's soccer.
"Abby Head On" shows how Wambach, honored as the 2012 FIFA Player of the Year, has made her mark on the sport and become one of the best this country has ever produced.
Co-directed by Peabody and Emmy award-winners Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby, "Abby Head On" features revealing interviews from Wambach's high school, college and U.S. head coaches, current and former teammates including Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Alex Morgan, and Wambach's family. The film is narrated by Pro Football Hall of Famer and former University of Florida football player Jack Youngblood.
"Abby has been a huge part of sustaining and growing the popularity of women's soccer over the last decade," said director Erin Leyden. "Her decision to go to Florida instead of one of the more traditional soccer powerhouses says a lot about her, and we're excited for the opportunity to tell her story to a wider audience."