Abby Wambach on coming out, married life, and creating a home outside of her soccer career


A new piece on ESPNW goes in-depth with out soccer star Abby Wambach. It’s penned by out sports journalist Kate Fagan, who follows Abby from her U.S. women’s team practices in East Hartford, Connecticut to her home with wife Sarah Huffman in Portland, Oregon.

abwamphoto via ESPNW

While the focus is on her soccer career, there is also some details on the couple’s home life:

SARAH HUFFMAN opens the door of the house she shares with Wambach and their two dogs: Kingston, a 5-year-old English bulldog, and Tex, an 11-year old pug with terrible breath. Wambach and Huffman were married last summer in Hawaii. Huffman planned the wedding, while Wambach oversaw the renovation and furnishing of their home in Portland. The couple bought the property sight unseen in 2012, sending a local real estate agent and some friends to check out the place. The verdict? Amazing views and good bones. With a gut renovation, the house could become their dream home.

FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2013

Kate writes that Sarah “seems to hold Wambach steady without holding her still,” and it’s clear that Abby is interested in trying everything on to see what fits and living 100 miles per hour, while Sarah is her consistency. The couple came out, officially, last year after marrying in Hawaii. Although Sarah had come out, personally, before then, Abby had not. An excrept from the piece:

Wambach lives out loud — at least, around those she is comfortable with. When the circle widens, she can become fiercely private. Long before “living authentically” became a popular catchphrase, Wambach was doing just that, quietly, without the headlines. Back in the early 2000s, she was open with her U.S. teammates about her sexuality. They were cool with it; they had all played with gay athletes before. But she did face a crossroads once the ’99ers generation — Hamm, Foudy, Joy Fawcett — began retiring. “I was worried that I was the anti-them: short hair, lesbian, freely speaking my mind,” Wambach says. “I knew that I couldn’t fit their mold, but at the same time I didn’t want to reinforce the cliche that exists in women’s sports, that it’s a lesbian world, because that’s just not how it is. And, truthfully, I’m not the kind of person to stand on a podium and say, ‘I’m gay. Hear me roar.’ In terms of my professional life, it has nothing to do with how I play soccer. Yes, ‘authenticity’ is the cool new word, and gay men in sports are a huge topic of conversation. But I want to be a predecessor to the movement where it isn’t a big topic.”

Mexico v United States

The article attempts to answer who Abby Wambach is without soccer, as her career is nearing its inevitable end as Abby is 34 and, outside of winning the World Cup, has officially achieved everything else she could want in the game. But after the games are over and she officially retires, Abby says she wants to be a stay-at-home mom. (She loves the idea of remaining in one place and letting Huffman, who hopes to work at Nike after the NWSL season, be her “sugar mama.”)

Even Abby isn’t sure exactly what life will look like without soccer.

“I know that I was put on this planet to be an athlete,” she tells ESPNW. “But what else is there? What is my point in life? This might sound masochistic or narcissistic, I don’t know, but when I’m not playing the game, the validations I feel about life are always through the hardships. I relate more to sadness, in a lot of ways, when I’m not playing. You can imagine how many people tell me how great I am every day. So for me, it’s a balancing act, trying to be and feel like a normal human being. I have to, not exactly dim my light, but alter my expectations, so I can start to be happy in ways that are sustainable for the rest of my life.”

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