Less than a week after the thrilling Women’s World Cup, Abby Wambach already is taking on new challenges. She will spend the rest of the Women’s Professional Soccer season as player-coach for magicJack. She will need to settle a team whose results suffered in the absence of its national team players, even as those players, such as Shannon Boxx, Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo and Wambach, recover from the grueling Cup chase.
The league has precedent for a player-coach. U.S. captain and magicJack defender Rampone temporarily took the reins of Sky Blue FC in 2009 and led the team to the first WPS championship. Borislow hinted at a leadership role for Rampone, saying she and Wambach are good leaders who know the game well. But the primary coaching duties will fall to Wambach.
Wambach might have a chance to duplicate Rampone’s feat. Sky Blue finished fourth in 2009 but won three road games in the playoffs to take the title. In the current WPS standings, South Florida-based magicJack holds the fourth and final playoff spot by two points over New Jersey-based Sky Blue. But the team could climb quickly with national team players back in the mix and with a game in hand over Sky Blue and third-place Boston Breakers. Wambach did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Borislow said he considers her quite qualified.
“Abby is not only a great player who sacrifices everything, she knows the game incredibly well. But the best-kept secret in sports as how [darn] smart she is,” Borislow said. “Her IQ I am sure is off the charts, and she is really good with her teammates.”