Wambach to play her 200th with US women’s team

Abby Wambach simply laughs when asked about playing her 200th

game for the U.S. women’s national team. The 2012 FIFA Player of

the Year is far too busy playing to dwell on her

accomplishments.

”Hopefully I’ll think about those more when I retire,” Wambach

said Tuesday.

”I’m not really big on personal accolades and awards. It’s just

not my style. So for me, it’s another game. It’s exciting, I guess.

I don’t know. It’s hard to explain because I don’t really put that

much value on that kind of stuff. I put value on wins. I put value

on championships.”

With 152 goals, the 33-year-old foreard enters Wednesday’s

friendly against Scotland six from the world record set by Mia Hamm

from 1987-04. Only seven Americans have appeared in more

international matches.

Midfielder Shannon Boxx called it a huge accomplishment.

”We don’t have that many players that have been able to get to

that level,” Boxx said. ”I think it’s her day tomorrow, and we

can hopefully celebrate it with her. Hopefully, she’ll get a goal

to continue her strength and her power.”

Kristine Lilly tops the U.S. list with 352 appearances. Defender

Christie Rampone was set for her 278th on Wednesday night, while

the others include Hamm (275), Julie Foudy (272), Joy Fawcett

(239), Tiffeny Milbrett (204) and Kate Markgraf (201).

”She’s an amazing, amazing player and an amazing person,”

defender Ali Krieger said. ”Great role model for this team, and

she’s our leader. She’s one of the best forwards in the world,

obviously the best player this past year in the world, and we’re

lucky to have her. She’s going strong, and I hope that we win for

her and this team and that she scores a few goals just to make it

10 times better.”

Wambach credits being the youngest of seven for understanding

the approach needed to play within a team and great coaches over

the years believing in her for allowing her to reach 200 caps in

her career.

”There’s so many great players in this country, and a lot of it

does kind of fall down to a coach’s opinion for better or for

worse,” Wambach said. ”I’ve had really great coaches that really

believed in me and put me on the field and gave me the

responsibility of scoring goals for this team for a lot of years.

That’s a responsibility I take very seriously. Two hundred, 100,

whatever we’re talking about, if we’re winning that game, that’s

the most important thing for me.”

The forward talked with reporters before practice at LP Field,

home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. She then poised for photos with

a boy thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation before bringing him onto

the field to kick around a football with herself and then other

teammates during warm-ups.

Wambach doesn’t sound as if she’s thinking of retirement anytime

soon either. The Americans are busy learning the philosophy of new

coach Tom Sermanni, the Scot who spent the last eight years as

Australia’s national team coach. He opened with a 4-1 Saturday over

his native country.

The national team will be heading to Portugal after Sermanni

chooses his squad for the Algarve Cup. More than 12,000 tickets

have been sold for Wednesday, giving the U.S. a chance to top the

Tennessee record of 13,081 who saw the U.S. women beat Sweden 3-1

in Chattanooga in 1997.

”It’s an exciting time to be on this team,” Wambach said.

”Obviously, I’m in the latter parts of my years, but I’m excited

to see what’s ahead for this team.”

Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at

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