I was four years old when I first started playing soccer. Back then, I never thought it would be a career. I couldn’t imagine the sport would take me to see the world, or that I would represent my country on the United States women’s team. Way back then, it was all about the thrill of running on the grass with my friends, brothers and sisters, connecting with the ball, and knowing exactly where it would go. It was all about me, the ball, and my love for the game.
Now, many years and many, many games later, that’s still what it’s about for me. I still get that same thrill. Every time I’m on the field, I want to give my all and make it a good game. And of course, I want to win.
When I’m on the field playing professionally, I’m aware of everything happening around me, from the speed of other players on the field, to the way my shoes feel as I’m running, to the angle of the sun — all of these things play a part in my performance. Natural grass is a big part of my performance because I trust that I can play hard, and not worry about injuries. Real turf is softer and cooler, and it plays much differently than artificial turf.
The game of soccer has changed my life, and as I think about the future of the sport, I want to do my part to encourage the next generation of soccer players. I want future players to have that same carefree feeling I had when I first started playing. I want them to feel the same thrill — when you’re on the field, you can be fearless and give your all.
When RISE approached me to partner with them, I was excited about having another opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of real turf for professional athletes, but most importantly for kids who are just starting to fall in love with the game. Because when it comes down to it, no matter where you’re playing, whether it be on the world stage or your backyard, it’s all about you, the ball and the field you’re on. And when all those things come together in the right way, it’s a beautiful thing.
Interested in learning more about real, well-maintained turf? Click here.
This is a guest post written by Abby Wambach, veteran captain and forward for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), 2015 World Cup Champions. Thoughts in this post do not represent the USWNT.