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Abby Wambach, Soccer Star

Soccer Mom Wannabe

FITNESS: You started playing soccer at age 4. Did you ever imagine you could make a career of it?

Abby: "When I was younger, I played in boys' leagues, because the level of competition wasn't quite the same for girls. I never thought I'd be able to just play without having to hold a second job. But now, because of the popularity of women's sports, the skill level for elite girls is so high that they can play competitively with women throughout their lives."

FITNESS: How can girls get more involved in sports?

Abby: "Camps kept me out of trouble growing up. Now I run the all-girls Abby Wambach Soccer Camp in Pittsford, New York. My dream is to help girls be active, healthy, and involved with something that turns them into strong, successful women."

FITNESS: What's your favorite leisure sport — aside from soccer, of course?

Abby: "I like to run, watch-free. I also love to mountain bike in our off-season — going downhill gives me an adrenaline rush!"

FITNESS: What's it like training for the World Cup?

Abby: "Pressure-packed — my job is to score goals. So two or three times a week, in addition to practice and weight lifting, I get to the field early and shoot about 50 balls into the net."

FITNESS: With so much time traveling and training, is it hard to maintain relationships or date?

Abby: "Cell phones and e-mail help! But I love playing soccer, and I truly believe that what I've learned on the field has driven me to be better at everything I do."

FITNESS: Would you like to have kids someday?

Abby: "Absolutely! And still play — literally, be a soccer mom."

Abby Can't Live Without...

A Good Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns

"I just read this riveting story about two Afghan women."

Relaxing Tunes

"I've always been into slow music during workouts. I'm a big fan of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Natalie Merchant."

The Perfect Pair of Shoes

"I train in Nike First2 Pro cleats. They're super lightweight and fit my feet perfectly." ($150;

Thirst Quenchers

"I took a sweat test at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute in Chicago and learned that I lose about two liters of sweat per hour of play. I drink Gatorade before and during games to help replace lost electrolytes."

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2007.