Women’s Ballon d’Or nominee Abby Wambach has hailed the input of FIFA and federations the world wide as being vital in the development of women’s football.
Speaking at the FIFA’s Zurich gala for the Ballon d’Or, the Western New York Flash striker spoke of how impressed she has been with how far the women’s game has come in recent years.
“I think we have gone so far over the last decade that we’ve been playing.”
Becoming increasingly professional
“I think you can see it at the club level. I think you see it at the federation level. More federations are putting money into their female programmes. Trying to give more women the opportunity to just play soccer without having to hold down second jobs.
“And I think with the help of our feds and FIFA we can keep pushing the game forward so that all women who want to out there can play soccer and just play soccer for a living.”
Still a lot of work to do
And when asked about the expansion of the Women’s World Cup which will come into affect when 24 teams – more than ever before – compete for the trophy in Canada later this year Wambach explained that the tournament will go a long way to taking women’s football into the future.
“I think it gives certain countries that wouldn’t normally have made a World Cup an opportunity to see what its like to play on the bigger stage.
“And yes there may be some countries that don’t do as well as others but think about those women; think of the opportunities they’re getting. Think about the opportunity to walk out to play on a World Cup pitch for the first time in front of a big crowd.”
“These are the moments that define people and builds their character and hopefully that’ll be a spark for them and their country and growing their sport in their country.
“And hopefully one day we’ll have even more teams playing at a World Cup not even more teams but all of them playing at a competitive level.”
Wambach has been nominated for the 2014 women’s Ballon d’Or alongside Brazil’s Marta and Germany’s Nadine Kessler – and it certainly demonstrates the progress the women’s game that Stephanie Roche’s goal for Peamont United has been shortlisted for FIFA Puskas Award for goal of the year alongside World Cup strikes from Robin van Persie and James Rodriguez.