Mercy senior Abby Wambach celebrates with a teammate after she scored her second goal of the game during the Aquinas/Mercy game at Mercy on Ocy. 17, 1997
Abby Wambach’s name is etched in the record books as the greatest goal-scorer in international soccer history — and on Friday night, it’ll be a permanent fixture at her high school alma mater’s soccer field.
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Our Lady of Mercy will dedicate its field in honor of Wambach, 34, a 1998 graduate of the private school in Brighton, at a 5:30 p.m. ceremony. The 5-foot-11 forward from Pittsford ranks first on the all-time international scoring list for men or women with 167 goals. She passed her former mentor, Mia Hamm (158), last summer.
“I am honored that my alma mater would want to do this for me and my family,” Wambach said Wednesday via text message. “I owe so much of my success to my upbringing and education. Mercy is a massive part of my character.
“The values (her former coach, Kathy Boughton) instilled in me still apply in all parts of my life. I couldn’t be more proud and thankful for this amazing honor.”
She powered Mercy to three Section V Class A titles in her six varsity seasons and scored 142 goals, which still ranks among the top 10.
Named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2012 alongside men’s winner, Lionel Messi, she has been named the United States Soccer Federation’s Female Player of the Year a record six times, most recently in 2012. In 2011 she also became the first individual male or female soccer player in history to capture the annual Associated Press award for Athlete of the Year.
Wambach also ranks second in United States women’s soccer history in points (396), third in assists (65) and sixth in games played (215) and games started (188). She is expected to be back in action for the Americans in their next exhibition on Aug. 20 in Cary, N.C., against Switzerland. The U.S. team will play its final World Cup qualifying tune-up in Rochester when it takes on Mexico at Sahlen’s Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 18.
Tickets go on sale to general public for only that match at 10 a.m. Friday. Tickets are already available as part of a special Rochester Rhinos ticket package. Go to http://rhinossoccer.com/ for more details.
Wambach and her club team, the Western New York Flash (8-11-3), are back in action next Wednesday when they play their final home match of the regular season against Sky Blue FC. She has played in only seven matches due to national team duty and two injuries, a fractured orbital bone in April and knee injury that sidelined her from June 1 to July 30. She has six goals, including a pair in Sunday’s 4-3 win at Sky Blue FC.
Photos: Abby smashes Mia’s record