Career years: 2002-Present
Clubs: Washington Freedom, magicJack, Western New York Flash
Accolades: 6x U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, Women's Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year
When Mia Hamm retired in 2004, Abby Wambach took the torch from her as the USWNT's leading striker. In 2012, she was awarded with the FIFA World Player of the Year honor, becoming the first American woman since Hamm in 2002 to win the award, which symbolically served as Wambach stepping out of Hamm's shadow. Her 165 international goals makes her the all-time international goal scorer for both male and female footballers, a record previously held by Hamm.
Wambach has carved her own legend in recent years, with her 122nd minute diving header against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup winning an ESPY for Best Play of the Year. The header forced the quarterfinal match to penalty kicks, which the United States won on, and later progress to the finals (they lost to Japan). The most accomplished American woman in a post-Hamm landscape, Wambach remains an unplayable physical and aerial force in the women's game.
If there's a centreback to bully and header to win in the box, Wambach is almost always getting the best of the defense and scoring.