Not So Trivial Pursuits

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Who is the all-time leading scorer in international woman's football?



Soccer great Abby Wambach became the all-time leader in international goals among all players, both men and women, while leading the U.S. Women's Olympic Team to the Gold Medal and the 2015 FIFA World Cup Title. With 184 scores, Wambach leads former teammates Mia Hamm, third on the list of female footballers with 158 goals, and Christine Lillie, fourth on the list with 130 goals. Like Wambach, Hamm and Lillie are both retired. The only active women players who have more than 100 international goals are Christine Lloyd of the U.S.A., with 105 scores, Marta of Brazil, with 110 scores, and in second place with 177 goals, Canada's Christine Sinclair is bearing down on Wambach's record. In Womens World Cup scoring, Marta holds the record with 15 goals; Wambach is tied with Germany's Birgit Prinz at 14 goals right behind the Brazilian legend.


A high school standout in her home town of Rochester, New York, Wambach was a top college recruit. Intensely sought after by numerous colleges, including top soccer programs such as the University of North Carolina, UCLA, the University of Portland, and the University of Virginia, Wambach accepted a full athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville. In her freshman year, she led the Gators to their first N.C.A.A. Championship defeating much heralded Tarheels, and was named a first-team All-American in her sophomore, junior, and senior years.. With Wambach leading the charge, the team won four consecutive Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championships from 1998 to 2001, and in her senior year, Amy led the Women Gators back to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.


Drafted second overall by the Washington Freedom of the Women's United Soccer Association in 2002, Wambach paired with U.S. soccer great Mia Hamm to give the club a dynamic 1-2 scoring punch. The 5'11" forward was particularly dangerous on corner kicks, using her size to establish position and rise above the pack to blast a header at the goal. She was named Rookie of the Year in 2002 and MVP of the championship game in 2003.


Wambach competed for the U.S. Women's Soccer Team in 2004 and 2012 winning gold both times. She also represented the U.S.A. in four FIFA World Cup Tournaments, from 2003-2015, finally wiinning the cup in 2015. The U.S. Soccer Federation named her their Athlete of the Year six times, in 3003,2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2013. In 2011, the Women's Sports Foundation honored her with the Sportswoman of the Year award, and the Associated Press named her the Female Athlete of the Year making her the first soccer player, man or woman, to receive the award. Finally, in 2012, FIFA recognized her as the FIFA World Player of the Year becoming only the fourth woman to be so honored.