Every great player leaves a legacy. A legacy that revolutionized their sport, created a name for their country and inspired the following generations. However, no legacy lasts forever and the greats eventually retire and make room for younger stars to be recognized. So where do they go, these stars of yesteryear? What do they do after they retire from the only thing they know?
Abby Wambach wasn’t a 99er that changed the soccer world, but she created a name for herself in the big moments, coming up with the clutch goals for the USWNT team. She also is one of the few players who has been involved with every struggle of forming a professional soccer league. She retired from soccer in Dec. of 2015 after concluding the USWNT’s 10-game victory tour for the 2015 World Cup. Wambach was quick in giving back following her career though, creating the Full Pitch Soccer Academy with Shannon Boxx and Christine Rampone. She is now an accomplished writer and motivational speaker. She has written a book that recounted her life and struggles over the years. She is married to Glennon Doyle Melton.
Mia Hamm was a part of the greatest team in USWNT history, having been dubbed the ‘99ers. She along with her teammates brought women’s soccer into the light and began the process of making her and other soccer stars household names. In 2004, Hamm retired from the USWNT team, having scored 158 international goals and winning two Olympics and two World Cups. She now resides in Los Angeles, California with husband Nomar Garciaparra with their three children. After retiring, Hamm, for the most part has remained out of the spotlight. But, she decided it was time to step out again, announcing her co-ownership of MLS’s newest team, LA FC. Hamm can often be found in the owner’s box on the weekends at the latest LA FC game along with Garciaparra and co-owner Will Ferrell during the team’s inaugural season.
Michelle Akers was the face of soccer along with Mia Hamm. An original member of the first women’s national team and arguably the greatest of all time, Akers is the most well-known soccer player and really defined the game’s core foundation in the US. Since retiring from soccer in 2000, Akers still promoted soccer but opted for a much quieter and mundane lifestyle. Seeking to inspire other people’s love for soccer, Akers has written four books about the beautiful game. She now resides in a Powder Spring, Georgia where she focuses on rescuing horses.
Photos courtesy of ISI, Brad Smith, JBW, and USWNT Archive Images.