Abby Wambach on Exploring Football History on ESPN+

Abby Wambach discovers more than you – or the legendary player herself – knows about football – or soccer as the rest of the world calls it – in “Abby’s Places” on ESPN+.

The first episode of Part Two of the two-time gold medalist and member of the 2015 Women’s World Cup winning team US series fell on Wednesday. The delightful program finds the soccer star delving deeply into the history of the game. This includes learning about its roots that go back to the Middle Ages.

“The things I’ve learned about soccer/soccer are countless,” Wambach told TheWrap. “I mean, I pretend to be that expert, but like a lot of the things I show on my show are actually things I learned in the process of preparing for these episodes.”

One of those things was that in the medieval period, when there were no sporting goods stores with a variety of multi-colored soccer balls available for purchase, people would play what came to be known as soccer with something else.

“I was on the field in San Diego when I was shooting this episode with Landon [Donovan] We were discussing the evolution of the ball. Back in the Middle Ages, they used to use human skulls as a real shape for this ball,” Wambach added that she was “very grateful” to start “playing football at a time when the plastic and rubber shaped balls we were using were.”

Donovan wasn’t the only star to appear in the back half of the Wampac series. She also spent time with Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey, a co-owner of Austin FC, and Britain’s Kelly Smith, a competitor on the pitch since her Wampack playing days.

“When we were in London, I was like, ‘I must have Kelly. I have to have this person who – “…I would say Kelly Smith was probably one of the toughest opponents we had to defend because she was so good and had so many different skills,” Wambach recounts of the striker who played for the England national football team against USA team.

“You know, sometimes some of these guys come in to play and you can’t do anything about it. And Kelly was one of those guys. So, I wanted to share it on our show,” Wambach added.

Abby Wambach, Glennon Doyle V "Abe's places" (Bryce MacDonald)
Abby Wambach and Glennon Doyle in “Abby’s Places” (Bryce MacDonald)
NBC maintains English Premier League football with new 6-year deal

Representing a variety of guests across the series, including women, and more specifically women of color, was a goal for Wambach as she worked to discover the history of the truly beautiful game.

“I wanted to make it clear that there’s really a thick, storied history of not only our women’s national team in the United States but women all over the world,” she said.

It’s fitting, then, that Wambach’s second season should be released under Title IX, the legislation outlawing sexism in any school or institution that receives federal funding, and that changed the game for math, turning 50. And Riadi benefited from it and was frank about it.

“I always want to be aware of the women and men who did all the work 50 years ago to give us even the possibility to host your TV show so we could have this conversation about you, right? And I think it shows there has been a lot of progress that has been made over the last 50 years,” Wambach said. “It’s a nice story, to tell from that perspective, but I also want to be very aware that we still have a lot of work to do.” “So, it’s a beautiful day to celebrate, but it’s also – to me – what feels like About half way to where we probably should be.”

Essential Art for the ESPN + . Series "Abe's places"
Essential Art for ESPN + “Abby’s Places” Series
Fox acquires European Football Championship 2024 and 2028 in a 6-year deal with UEFA

In addition to the history of the game, “Abby’s Places” also visits important game sites. I watched the last series of episodes her visit to the sacred halls at Old Trafford. It’s not just where Manchester United play, it’s of particular importance to Wambach itself.

“I was fortunate enough to actually be the first woman to score at Old Trafford during the London 2012 Olympics. We played a game there and it was the first women’s game there ever. And that’s how I ended up scoring the first. So, to me, the stadium has more meaning than Just what most people appreciate about Old Trafford being like the home of Manchester United,” Wambach said. “And so we’re back there, because we ended up winning gold in London that year, and that was really – it’s just such an extraordinary place.”

“Abby’s Places” was produced by NFL Films in association with ESPN+. The series is produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions.

Pick up “Abby’s Places” now on ESPN+.

Glennon Doyle, Shannon Books, Shannon MacMillan, Laurie Fair V "Abe's places" (Bryce MacDonald)
Glennon Doyle, Shannon Books, Shannon MacMillan, Laurie Gallery at “Abby’s Places” (Brice MacDonald)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: