Abby Wambach will not be playing with the Western New York Flash in the upcoming NWSL season, preferring to concentrate on winning her first Women’s World Cup with the United States.
Wambach, 34, has scored 178 goals in 238 appearances for the U.S. WNT and has not been a guaranteed starter in recent months with the national team.
The NWSL season kicks off in April and Wambach will not want to suffer an injury that would limit her chances of participating in the World Cup, being held in Canada in June.
The forward suffered a LCL sprain in May 2014, which kept her sidelined for over a month and limited her appearances for the Flash, only making ten over the course of last season.
“I am so proud of our league and truly appreciate the support of the Sahlens and the fans of Western New York,” Wambach said. “At this stage of my career, I know what I need to prepare mentally and physically for this summer. My sole focus is to help bring a World Cup back to the U.S.”
Wambach has scored 13 goals across three World Cups in her career, but has yet to win the tournament. The U.S. WNT finished third in 2003 and 2007 and lost on penalties in the 2011 final versus Japan.
“While it’s difficult to lose a player like Abby, we are grateful for her contributions over the past two years, not only to the Flash but to the entire Rochester and Western New York soccer community,” admitted Alex Sahlen, President of the Flash.
The news comes after a difficult offseason in which the Flash traded away US WNT midfielder Carli Lloyd and Australian forward Samantha Kerr. Lloyd and Kerr, along with Wambach, were the top three goal scorers in the 2014 season.
Wambach has had to make way for younger players in recent games with the national team, with Alex Morgan, Christen Press, and Amy Rodriguez leading the line on occasions.
She will hope this hiatus from professional soccer will give her the focus needed to lead the red, white, and blue to a third all-time World Cup title.
The U.S. kicks off the World Cup on June 8th in Winnipeg versus Australia before taking on Sweden and Nigeria in Group D.