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Abby Wambach hands soccer record to Christine Sinclair with a powerful message for women
Abby Wambach/Instagram

The U.S. women's national soccer team has dominated the global sport for decades, with multiple world records to prove it. But one record stands out as the pinnacle of individual achievement—the international scoring record.


The title is held by the soccer player who has scored the most collective points in international competition. U.S. women's soccer player Mia Hamm held that title from 2004 to 2013, with 158 total international goals, the most of any professional soccer player—male or female. Abby Wambach beat that record in 2013, added to it, and has held it since her retirement in 2015.

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But on January 29, Canada's Christine Sinclair scored her 185th international goal, breaking Wambach's record, once again making history as the world's highest scoring international soccer competitor, male or female.

After Sinclair scored her record-breaking goal, Abby Wambach immediately took to social media. Not only did she pass the torch to Sinclair, but she passed it with joy, celebration, and an inspiring message for all women. She wrote:

"Mia Hamm – who grew up playing when professional women's soccer didn't even exist – achieved the record for most international goals scored in the world.

She was my mentor, my friend – she was the leader of our Pack.

In June 2013, I scored the goal to pass my hero's record.

For the six and a half years that I've held the world record for most goals scored – by man or woman – I've been grateful-to-the-bones for the path the Pack before me tread so that I could spend my life playing the game I love.

I've tried to live and play in a way honoring that legacy and privilege, so that little girls coming up after us will accomplish things we've only dreamed of.

So, as a girl who grew up dreaming of winning Olympic gold for my country before women's soccer was even an Olympic sport, tonight I am celebrating.

Tonight, I am celebrating the honor of passing that record, that legacy of our beautiful game, to the great Christine Sinclair: world-record holder for most international goals – man or woman – in history.

Christine: History is made. Your victory is our victory. We celebrate with you.

To every girl coming up in the Pack with a dream to do something that doesn't yet even exist: We believe in you to accomplish what we can't even yet imagine. Your Pack is with you. And history awaits you."

And if that wasn't enough to light your girl-power feelings on fire, she also shared a video montage emphasizing the importance of celebrating the achievements and victories of all women. "We will claim infinite joy, success, and power together," Wambach says in the video. "Her victory is your victory. Celebrate with her."

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So, so good. While the dominance of U.S. women's soccer has been a fun run, the fact that this record has passed hands from the U.S. to Canada is a sign that the international sport is growing in strength. That's good news for female soccer players of all ages and nationalities.

Thank you, Abby, for the beautiful statement of support, and the needed reminder that lifting one another up makes us all stronger.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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