Next Creative Conversation
challenge you? The ESPN thing is
a mind shift. You have to get into
the mind-set of a coach rather than
analyzing a game from a player’s
perspective, even though they want
a player’s perspective, on some
level, from me. There are some nuances that I have yet to learn. And I
will learn them. I’m very confident
in myself in that way.
But I’m also trying out [other]
new things. That’s why I signed on
with ESPN: They’re giving me the
leeway to figure out what I like. I
have all these other projects [in the
works] with my own businesses,
starting up my new [soccer-training]
camp, and creating a path centered
around this revolution that I feel is
happening around us. There’s something in the air, around the women’s
movement, around equality, the gay
movement, and I want to be a part
of it. We have to start honoring each
other’s differences so that these
tragedies [like the mass shooting
in Orlando] stop happening.
Where do you start? It’s already
starting in the things that I’m involved in, like working for ESPN.
A Disney-owned company hired
a gay woman with short hair who
dresses androgynously. That is,
for me, a telltale sign that I chose
the right company, because they’re
not scared of someone pushing the
boundaries. I’m here as a reminder
that change is happening, but we
still have a long way to go.
You’ve been very vocal since you
retired about closing the gender
pay gap in soccer. Why didn’t you
speak out about it more when
you were playing? When I retired,
I realized, first of all, that I needed
a job—I’m not a male professional
athlete who’d signed massive contracts. I did just fine, but it’s not lifetime kind of money. It [prompted]
me to do this deep thinking. I got
really pissed off. And then, as I was
writing my book, I realized that
maybe I didn’t do enough when I
was playing, when I could maybe
have had more impact, to help
grow the game and help this wage
on a diet, always traveling, and always pushing my body to its nth degree.
What’s important for me now is that I’m starting over. I have a chance at a
second career, and that’s both exciting and terrifying.
On your ESPN podcast, Fearless Conversation With Abby Wambach,
you’ve talked of how retirement brought on an “existential crisis.”
Retirement has been enlightening, but also really hard at times. Everyone experiences it, whether you get fired, or you’re changing careers, or
having children, and your life is
completely flipped upside down.
People don’t talk about their
hard times enough. Sometimes
you cry, sometimes you’re stuck,
sometimes you drink too much.
It’s almost like recovery. I’m a recovering soccer player.
What did you learn about yourself in the process? You have to
accept that you’re going back to
the drawing board to figure out
what you’re going to be good at,
what you’re going to enjoy, what’s going to fulfill you. I think that’s especially
[hard to do] with the level at which I played: I have very high expectations
for my life. Not the lifestyle, but the successes, the goals, and the dreams.
You’ve written your memoir, Forward, and you’ve got your podcast
and a new role as an on-air analyst for ESPN. How do these endeavors
company hired a gay
woman with short
hair who dresses
androgynously. I’m a
reminder that change
Made in America
her 2015 World Cup