Abby Wambach's Parting Shot: 'Forget Me'
Soccer star Abby Wambach will play her final match Wednesday -- and if she gets her way, fans will never talk about her again.
In a Gatorade campaign, Ms. Wambach is urging people to "forget me" so that that the game of soccer can move forward. "Forget the medals won, the records broken and the sacrifices made," she says in a an ad. Because "I want to leave a legacy where the ball keeps rolling forward, where the next generation accomplishes things so great that I am no longer remembered."
To signal that she is serious, Ms. Wambach plans to deactivate from all social media on Wednesday, before her last game with the the U.S. Women's National Team in New Orleans.
The ad is by TBWA/Chiat/Day and will run on TV during the U.S. game against China, which is airing tonight on Fox Sports 1. Gatorade will also run the spot on its digital channels.
Her call to "forget I ever existed" is an unusual refrain in a sporting world in which stars often seek to remain relevant with brands and fans way past their prime, into retirement. Look no further than LeBron James, who just inked a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike in a move that suggests he will still be appearing in ads after he hangs up his basketball shoes.
Ms. Wambach, 35, has scored more goals in international soccer than any man or woman. She won two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup title in 2015.
"Abby is truly a special athlete, both to Gatorade because she's been with the brand for over 12 years, and to the sport of soccer because of her great passion for growing the game," Kenny Mitchell, Gatorade's senior director for consumer engagement, said in a statement. "When thinking about her retirement, we wanted to honor and celebrate Abby and her tremendous impact on the game while supporting her final message to fans with a campaign inspired by her own words. 'Forget Me' and Abby's decision to delete her social media channels stay true to Abby's desire to see a new generation of athletes to continue taking the game to the next level."