Abby Wambach doesn’t want to hear any questions about the mentality of hte U.S. women’s national team.
Speaking on the latest episode of the “Snacks” podcast, the USWNT great offered a counterpoint to vocal critics of the current squad.
“Even though this last World Cup didn’t turn out like we wanted it to, I still think that we’re talking about a couple of penalty kicks missed and then the U.S. team shows up differently in latter-round games,” Wambach said.
The USWNT exited the tournament after a penalty shootout loss to Sweden in the Round of 16. And while Wambach didn’t put too much stock in the defeat, she does think it is important for the team to remember and recognize its history.
“I know that the Players Association does a good job of it, but I do think that there is so much value in remembering where the team came from in order for them to chart their new path,” she said. “I think that is the most important element that so many of my teams that I played on, we didn’t really get right all the time, that we were just like, ‘We’re doing it our way.’ And it’s like, you do need to bring in all the elements to what creates such a special environment.”
Still, she doesn’t want to hear of anyone questioning the team’s mentality, she told “Snacks” co-hosts and USWNT players Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis. Former USWNT star forward Carli Lloyd infamously questioned the team’s mentality before, during and after the 2023 World Cup.
Lloyd even went so far as to say that nobody on the current squad has a winning mentality, with the possible exception of Lindsey Horan. Lloyd and Wambach won the 2015 World Cup together with the USWNT, and Lloyd also played on the 2019 World Cup team.
“The champion mentality that we’ve had throughout the years, since the inception of this team, that dog mentality, you’ve got none of that,” Lloyd told CBS Sports in October. “The character, the respect — technically, tactically, you could be great and have a coach that comes in, but if you don’t have all those other things, there’s no winning.”
To Wambach, perspective is key.
“So, we can talk about all of the things and the coaches and the players and the … don’t get me started on the mentality piece because I will blow up on somebody,” Wambach said. “But what I do know is we’re talking about a penalty kick and that, I mean, we didn’t win every world championship we ever played in. Like, that is true.”