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Abby Wambach says she ‘failed to speak out’ as a player

Abby Wambach has committed herself to growing the women's game after retiring from her illustrious career. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Soccer legend Abby Wambach is taking ownership for failing “to speak out publicly or defy the status quo” when she was a player.

“Over the years, I played on more than one team owned or coached by men who I witnessed be emotionally and verbally abusive and dehumanizing,” she wrote in a Twitter post. “I am so deeply sorry to all the players who have been hurt inside the sport we all love.”

Multiple players have come forward in recent weeks and months, detailing allegations of abuse by coaches within the NWSL.

Most recently, Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim came forward to detail allegations of abuse by former North Carolina Courage Coach Paul Riley.

“I wish that, during my playing days, I’d had the courage of Sinead, Kaiya and Mana — to speak out publicly and demand change,” she said. “I stand with them now, and along with them I call for the transparency, accountability, and justice that our sport has long needed.”

In the past, Wambach has been criticized for supporting former magicJack owner Dan Borislow, who was accused of mistreating his players. Wambach both played and coached for Borislow.

After the Women’s Professional Soccer league (the NWSL’s predecessor) voted to terminate the magicJack franchise over its owner’s behavior, the subsequent legal battle led the WPS to first cancel the 2012 season before ultimately folding later that year. The NWSL was founded in 2013 as its replacement.