Abby Wambach is one of the legends of American soccer. On the Mount Everest of greatness, her face sits alongside Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Mia Hamm. And last night, she played her final game as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team (a rare home loss to China!).
When you’ve had a career as storied as Wambach’s (two-time Olympic gold medalist, World Cup champion, six-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year), you’ve built quite a legacy–but in a sport like American women’s soccer, which we only really care about once every four years, what exactly that means is still a question.
And so in a farewell spot for Gatorade, by agency TBWA/Chiat/Day LA, Wambach drops her wish for how she hopes to be remembered: Specifically, as unremarkable. “Forget me,” Wambach intones as she cleans out her locker, declaring that “I want to leave a legacy where the ball keeps rolling forward–where the next generation does things so great that I am no longer remembered.”
It’s a fine way to pay tribute to the greatness that Wambach showed in her 15-year career on the field, and to acknowledge the challenges that women in sports face without ever having to take anything away from who Wambach was as a player, and what her accomplishments meant. There could come a day when Abby Wambach’s face needs to be chiseled off of that Mount Rushmore in favor of the Ronda Rousey or Serena Williams of U.S. soccer–and if that day comes, no one will be cheering harder than Wambach herself.