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Forward is the powerful story of an athlete who has inspired girls all over the world to believe in themselves. Abby shows us by example how to overcome problems and live a happier, braver life." —Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, New York Times Bestselling author of Lean In  “This is the best memoir I’ve read by an athlete since Andre Agassi’s Open. I could not put it down, a Forward is the powerful story of an athlete who has inspired girls all over the world to believe in themselves. Abby shows us by example how to overcome problems and live a happier, braver life." —Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, New York Times Bestselling author of Lean In  “This is the best memoir I’ve read by an athlete since Andre Agassi’s Open. I could not put it down, and you will not want it to end.”  —Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take Abby Wambach has always pushed the limits of what is possible. At age seven she was put on the boys’ soccer team. At age thirty-five she would become the highest goal scorer—male or female—in the history of soccer, capturing the nation’s heart with her team’s 2015 World Cup Championship. Called an inspiration and “badass” by President Obama, Abby has become a fierce advocate for women’s rights and equal opportunity, pushing to translate the success of her team to the real world. As she reveals in this searching memoir, Abby’s professional success often masked her inner struggle to reconcile the various parts of herself: ferocious competitor, daughter, leader, wife. With stunning candor, Abby shares her inspiring and often brutal journey from girl in Rochester, New York, to world-class athlete. Far more than a sports memoir, Forward is gripping tale of resilience and redemption—and a reminder that heroism is, above all, about embracing life’s challenges with fearlessness and heart.


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Forward is the powerful story of an athlete who has inspired girls all over the world to believe in themselves. Abby shows us by example how to overcome problems and live a happier, braver life." —Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, New York Times Bestselling author of Lean In  “This is the best memoir I’ve read by an athlete since Andre Agassi’s Open. I could not put it down, a Forward is the powerful story of an athlete who has inspired girls all over the world to believe in themselves. Abby shows us by example how to overcome problems and live a happier, braver life." —Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, New York Times Bestselling author of Lean In  “This is the best memoir I’ve read by an athlete since Andre Agassi’s Open. I could not put it down, and you will not want it to end.”  —Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take Abby Wambach has always pushed the limits of what is possible. At age seven she was put on the boys’ soccer team. At age thirty-five she would become the highest goal scorer—male or female—in the history of soccer, capturing the nation’s heart with her team’s 2015 World Cup Championship. Called an inspiration and “badass” by President Obama, Abby has become a fierce advocate for women’s rights and equal opportunity, pushing to translate the success of her team to the real world. As she reveals in this searching memoir, Abby’s professional success often masked her inner struggle to reconcile the various parts of herself: ferocious competitor, daughter, leader, wife. With stunning candor, Abby shares her inspiring and often brutal journey from girl in Rochester, New York, to world-class athlete. Far more than a sports memoir, Forward is gripping tale of resilience and redemption—and a reminder that heroism is, above all, about embracing life’s challenges with fearlessness and heart.

30 review for Forward: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    This was not the memoir I expected from soccer legend, Abby Wambach. Soccer is front and center yes, but so too is the incredible pressure Wambach put on herself to perform at the highest level and the accumulated self-destructive behaviors that were quite surprising and sad. This is not a celebratory highlight reel but a gripping and very open look into how our celebrated sports icons bear a large personal burden to reach that stature.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    My best friend gave me this book as a Christmas present, and I'm so glad she did. I enjoyed reading it, however I can't say I am a bigger fan of AW after reading it. I am not used to reading memoirs, but I can't help but think this book is self-serving. I was disappointed by the lack of real reflection in this book. I think it emphasizes (at least to me) the danger of fame and recognition. I did like the way that she split the chapters into different "labels", I thought that was well thought out My best friend gave me this book as a Christmas present, and I'm so glad she did. I enjoyed reading it, however I can't say I am a bigger fan of AW after reading it. I am not used to reading memoirs, but I can't help but think this book is self-serving. I was disappointed by the lack of real reflection in this book. I think it emphasizes (at least to me) the danger of fame and recognition. I did like the way that she split the chapters into different "labels", I thought that was well thought out. However, I think waiting a few years after she retired would have given a deeper understanding and time to reflect on her past and career. It felt rushed, and I'm not sure if got to the deepest issues.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I love soccer – I’ve been playing it on and off for 30 years – and I especially love women’s soccer. I went to five World Cup matches up in Vancouver Canada last year, including the final, where the USWNT beat Japan 5-2. I have season tickets to the National Women’s Soccer League Seattle Reign (who still have a chance to make the playoffs this year!), and attended the USWNT victory tour match in Seattle last fall. When I learned Ms. Wambach was going to write a book about her life, I knew it was I love soccer – I’ve been playing it on and off for 30 years – and I especially love women’s soccer. I went to five World Cup matches up in Vancouver Canada last year, including the final, where the USWNT beat Japan 5-2. I have season tickets to the National Women’s Soccer League Seattle Reign (who still have a chance to make the playoffs this year!), and attended the USWNT victory tour match in Seattle last fall. When I learned Ms. Wambach was going to write a book about her life, I knew it was going to be a must read. Ms. Wambach and I are the same age, but other than both playing soccer and being white women, we don’t have much else in common. She has an intensity that I can’t even begin to imagine, which makes sense – it seems fairly necessary to become elite in any field, especially one as demanding as athletics. For most of her life, she seems to have taken the concept of ‘work hard, play hard’ to the extremes, mainly through either strict adherence to training while in the middle of camps, or through serious ingestion of alcohol and pills. She remains the record holder (male or female) of most international goals, but she is also known for the DUI she received in Portland just a few months after retirement. There is a brutality to this book that should make it a challenging read, but instead I devoured it. The fuel to turn the pages wasn’t so much born out of a desire to see what next ridiculous high or painful low was going to follow; instead I was genuinely interested in how Ms. Wambach was going to both explain and handle her life experiences. Would she be full of excuses? Philosophical? Would she only barely mention the more challenging parts of her story? No, she was just honest. She sometimes looks like the hero (as she should), and sometimes she is epically fucking up. She is ultimately human, and I feel like we could only get this story from someone who is no longer in the field, especially if the story is coming from a woman. As we’ve seen lately, with Hope Solo being fired for calling the Swedish team ‘cowards’ (something Cristiano Ronaldo essentially did regarding Iceland to zero consequence), women get a whole lot of negative attention when they don’t fit into the mold we’ve created to represent what it means to be a woman in the public eye. I don’t think you need to be a soccer fan to enjoy this read, so if you are curious at all, I recommend it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    reading is my hustle

    this is a completely authentic memoir about the personal & professional struggles (triumphs, too!) of abby wambach. also, to date, abby is the highest all-time scorer for men & women. 184 goals. read this memoir if you are interested in the woman behind the athlete. it's all there & abby goes deep with her candor & honesty. this is a completely authentic memoir about the personal & professional struggles (triumphs, too!) of abby wambach. also, to date, abby is the highest all-time scorer for men & women. 184 goals. read this memoir if you are interested in the woman behind the athlete. it's all there & abby goes deep with her candor & honesty.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    It's hard to review this book because, even after reading it, I'm extremely biased in Abby's favor. I'm not giving the book 5 stars because it's a great literary read. Nor is it "heartwarming". Instead, it's crude, blunt, honest, and down to earth. Since I was a little girl, Abby Wambach has been my hero, on and off the field. She was big, a tomboy who made her presence known with her body and her voice. As a girl trying to play soccer with all the boys, I always wanted to be like Abby because i It's hard to review this book because, even after reading it, I'm extremely biased in Abby's favor. I'm not giving the book 5 stars because it's a great literary read. Nor is it "heartwarming". Instead, it's crude, blunt, honest, and down to earth. Since I was a little girl, Abby Wambach has been my hero, on and off the field. She was big, a tomboy who made her presence known with her body and her voice. As a girl trying to play soccer with all the boys, I always wanted to be like Abby because it seemed like nothing ever got her down. She always picked herself up again and kept playing. Of course she was my hero. Why wouldn't a strong, fierce, independent woman who is demolishing records in your favorite sport be? So when I read this book, all I could think was "Finally, I get to see what my made my hero the woman she is today!" I can't say it wasn't hard to read pages on pages of alcoholism, depression, and self-hatred. When I finished, I had to process what I read. I had to understand why it didn't make me feel disappointed or upset with Abby. The saying, "Never meet your heroes" ran through my mind, because I believed that knowing about Abby's internal war with herself would make me hate her or no longer want her to be associated with the USWNT. Instead, it was the opposite. I became more proud of her. To know that this woman who set international records, who advocates for equal pay and for gay rights, who (to me at least) has been the face of women's soccer around the globe for over a decade, to know that she is just as damaged as a normal human, made her more real to me than ever. I had placed her on this pedestal of "#1 perfect human being" because, to the little girl that still lives in my mind, that was what she was. I still have a 10+ year old poster of her in my "adult" apartment. Reading this book, reading her statements about her life, didn't knock her down from that pedestal that I put her on. It just put her on a different one: "#1 imperfect human being". And I realize that all this sounds super sappy and that I might be over thinking a lot in the book, but I read this book at a time in life when I needed to see for myself that heroes aren't always what they seem. Countless times, Abby was knocked down on her ass. And countless times, she got up again. So, for that, for this book, and for being the hero every little girl needs, Thanks Abby.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura Skladzinski

    This book came recommended as a great athlete’s biography for a reading challenge. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to broadening my horizons. Wambach came off as an egotistical jerk in the book, never really seeming to learn her lesson about giving credit to others (even as she pretended to do so). A lot of the book was told in direct quotes from emails, text messages, and speeches – conveying that Wambach felt her words were genius and that the little things in her life were of the utmost impo This book came recommended as a great athlete’s biography for a reading challenge. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to broadening my horizons. Wambach came off as an egotistical jerk in the book, never really seeming to learn her lesson about giving credit to others (even as she pretended to do so). A lot of the book was told in direct quotes from emails, text messages, and speeches – conveying that Wambach felt her words were genius and that the little things in her life were of the utmost importance, while glossing over the hard work that made her into an extraordinary soccer player. Not a fan at all of this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    elisabeth

    Memoirs are always weird, and this is no exception? Abby Wambach is a Certified Trainwreck.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I found this book annoying. Not very well written or introspective. While I understand that a person can act like a leader but internally feel unworthy, she describes herself as if being a leader just sort of happens automatically and has nothing to do with what's going on in her head. She quotes some of her own public statements in which what she's saying doesn't seem to match her thoughts at all, and it's unclear if she's just mouthing platitudes or has actually thought about what she's saying I found this book annoying. Not very well written or introspective. While I understand that a person can act like a leader but internally feel unworthy, she describes herself as if being a leader just sort of happens automatically and has nothing to do with what's going on in her head. She quotes some of her own public statements in which what she's saying doesn't seem to match her thoughts at all, and it's unclear if she's just mouthing platitudes or has actually thought about what she's saying. Also, despite all the drinking and pills it wasn't really clear why she was having a hard time. I respect her not wanting to share details of her fights with Sarah, and also her portrayal of it as all her fault, but it was hard to connect to her story when I actually had almost no idea what the marital conflict was about.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Seri Hertel

    Incredibly surprised with her candor in this memoir. I was expecting the usual boring life story kind of bio, but she really exposes herself--both the good and bad parts. I respect her even more after her vulnerability in sharing her struggles with the world.

  10. 5 out of 5

    M

    It's jarring to hear that such a successful athlete had so much turmoil in her personal life. Her doubts and fears coupled with her immense success are reminders that our feelings do not need to dictate the outcome of our lives. We can push through the pain, physical or mental, and come out on top. We can fall, spectacularly, and be better for being able to pick ourselves up. Not only is Abby Wambach an amazing soccer player but as it turns out, she's smart, thoughtful, introspective, and encour It's jarring to hear that such a successful athlete had so much turmoil in her personal life. Her doubts and fears coupled with her immense success are reminders that our feelings do not need to dictate the outcome of our lives. We can push through the pain, physical or mental, and come out on top. We can fall, spectacularly, and be better for being able to pick ourselves up. Not only is Abby Wambach an amazing soccer player but as it turns out, she's smart, thoughtful, introspective, and encouraging. One thing that I noticed, though, is that she talked about her body as being separate from herself. Despite the healing and work that she has done on herself, she still can't seem to consolidate that her body is part of her and that she is part of her body. She credits her body for accomplishments while chastising her mind for her failings. Abby, you are your body, and your body is you. You can be both flawed and incredibly amazing. Thank you, Abby, for such a beautifully written memoir, for playing your hardest even when your heart wasn't in it, for picking yourself up, and reminding us that we can do it, too.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    This didn't include as much soccer as I thought it would, which actually makes it a better book. Abby (and her ghost writer) provide a very honest, open account of her struggles and victories, and it all comes from the heart. This didn't include as much soccer as I thought it would, which actually makes it a better book. Abby (and her ghost writer) provide a very honest, open account of her struggles and victories, and it all comes from the heart.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Let me just say that Abby Wambach is effing amazing. For someone who has built her image up as a "tough girl", the admissions here in this book come across as raw and deeply moving. In other memoirs, authors often go through every minute detail of their pain and anguish, this is not this book. However, Abby's simple recognition of her issues and how they affect her relationships, career, and self-image, are more than enough to inspire. Many people suggest that her words of encouragement and faith Let me just say that Abby Wambach is effing amazing. For someone who has built her image up as a "tough girl", the admissions here in this book come across as raw and deeply moving. In other memoirs, authors often go through every minute detail of their pain and anguish, this is not this book. However, Abby's simple recognition of her issues and how they affect her relationships, career, and self-image, are more than enough to inspire. Many people suggest that her words of encouragement and faith are just fluff, but one look at her today proves that she lives by what she professes in this book. From the two years that this book has been published, shes continued on the path of being an advocate for women's rights in the workplace, and has married fellow author Glennon Doyle (and they have such a supportive, authentic relationship and family!!!). Abby Wambach has no doubt become one of my favorite role models, and I cant wait to see what comes next! ...Hopefully a co-authored book with Glennon please and thank you! :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Potter

    Throughout the whole the book, I grew to dislike the Abby Wambach more and more. She was whiny and never took into account her own faults in most incidents of her life. While she is a fantastic soccer player her personality that was conveyed through the book was not a reflection of her skill. Her overall lack of a character in regards to her coping methods and her inability to accept change made this book a bust.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    Speechless & sobbing. Thank you for being so brave with your story, Abby. More thoughts soon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    audrey

    Wambach leads with vulnerability throughout this memoir, shedding light on events and innermost thoughts often shrouded in shame. Through courageously sharing her faults, regrets, and mistakes — all of our darkest emotions — Wambach paves a way for the light to seep in. I am inspired.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ben Ace

    I first heard of Abby Wambach while a friend and I followed the 2015 Women's World Cup since that was the first year the women would get full coverage. Said friend and I quickly let Wambach become one of our favorite players because of her LGBT+ advocacy. I'm glad to had read this memoir because there is so much more to her. This book isn't just for soccer fans, it is for everyone. I'm also very appreciative that she opened up about so many difficult topics in such a public way. She is an inspir I first heard of Abby Wambach while a friend and I followed the 2015 Women's World Cup since that was the first year the women would get full coverage. Said friend and I quickly let Wambach become one of our favorite players because of her LGBT+ advocacy. I'm glad to had read this memoir because there is so much more to her. This book isn't just for soccer fans, it is for everyone. I'm also very appreciative that she opened up about so many difficult topics in such a public way. She is an inspiration in so many ways, and I am sure that she will continue to be such for years to come. Support Me Elsewhere!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Reading Women 2019: About a Woman Athlete My last book to complete the Reading Women 2019 Challenge!! I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. I’m a bit embarrassed to say I only really became aware of Wambach after she began dating and married Glennon Doyle, whom I’ve loved for several years. My husband, a soccer fan, certainly was much more aware of Wambach and her accomplishments and her DUI in early 2016. Throughout reading the entire book, I was so struck by her similarities to D Reading Women 2019: About a Woman Athlete My last book to complete the Reading Women 2019 Challenge!! I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. I’m a bit embarrassed to say I only really became aware of Wambach after she began dating and married Glennon Doyle, whom I’ve loved for several years. My husband, a soccer fan, certainly was much more aware of Wambach and her accomplishments and her DUI in early 2016. Throughout reading the entire book, I was so struck by her similarities to Doyle, albeit in a completely different context. While Wambach struggles were in the world of sports, Doyle’s experiences centered in family and motherhood. I can absolutely understand now how they fell so deeply in love so quickly. Wambach writes openly and honestly not only about her addiction, but her devastating childhood feeling of being unloved and unlovable, and how she had to come to terms with that to stop abusing her body. Add to that the fact that I listened to the audiobook, which she reads, and this book is a profound experience. Of course, you also can’t talk about Wambach without talking about soccer, and her love and yet sometimes hate of the sport shines throughout the book. It was such nice timing for me to listen to this book during the 2019 Women’s World Cup. I felt like I learned about the true experience of what it means to be a professional women’s soccer player in the US, but without the book becoming pedantic or dragged down in complicated sports terminology. I found myself completely able to relate to Wambach’s emotional ambivalence about the game as well as her hard lessons in learning how to best succeed at her chosen profession and then finally her realization that she could not play soccer at that level forever as her body slowed down. It’s a universal human experience to always realize sometimes we have to “lead from the bench” and someone younger, faster and smarter is always coming up behind us. I can’t recommend this book enough, and especially the audiobook. You won’t regret your time spent here!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frances Krumholtz

    This book had me hooked from the jump but it became a disappointing slog before long. While I appreciate Wambach's candor, transparency, and (frequent-but-definitely-not-always) self awareness, I was ultimately let down by this memoir's writing. It seems as though she gave up on using her notes as a tool and instead frequently transcribed entire speeches, press conferences, text exchanges or tweets - sometimes quoted pieces going on for pages at a time. Certain weaknesses/challenges/mistakes she This book had me hooked from the jump but it became a disappointing slog before long. While I appreciate Wambach's candor, transparency, and (frequent-but-definitely-not-always) self awareness, I was ultimately let down by this memoir's writing. It seems as though she gave up on using her notes as a tool and instead frequently transcribed entire speeches, press conferences, text exchanges or tweets - sometimes quoted pieces going on for pages at a time. Certain weaknesses/challenges/mistakes she is glad to own up to: her struggles with addiction and self-acceptance are in the forefront here. Other missteps barely seem to register on her radar - hypocrisy around [perceived] infidelity and her own unsettling xenophobic proclamations come to mind. (She only mentions her own tweet complaining about too many "foreign guys" playing for the US Men's team to contextualize a tweet she felt was unjustly attacking her.) Wambach is a champion for gender equality, but her "I don't care what color you are" asides leave me concerned that she's firmly in the white feminism camp. This book was ....fine! If you're particularly interested in women's soccer or addiction, give it a go. If not, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth O

    I liked learning more of Abby's story and hearing her tell it herself. The local connection was kind of fun. The writing is not great--- many parts jump around and are glossed over and not explained. I would have liked a little less "A then B then C then back to A" and more in depth analysis of the rough patches in her life. Her inclusion of prior emails seemed weird and sometimes condescending to the receiver. I appreciated Abby's vulnerability when telling about: 1) her struggles with alcohol I liked learning more of Abby's story and hearing her tell it herself. The local connection was kind of fun. The writing is not great--- many parts jump around and are glossed over and not explained. I would have liked a little less "A then B then C then back to A" and more in depth analysis of the rough patches in her life. Her inclusion of prior emails seemed weird and sometimes condescending to the receiver. I appreciated Abby's vulnerability when telling about: 1) her struggles with alcohol and pills while attempting to maintain the physical calling of being a professional athlete. 2) the feeling that she didn't really love soccer, but played it because she was good at it and that's how she felt she could gain love and acceptance in life. 3) how scary a life transition can be, especially when you're known for one thing and one thing only. Each chapter is titled a different label she gives herself for that stage in life and this prompted great discussion about the labels we give others, the ones we give ourselves, and which of them deserve our recognition or acceptance.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Dear Abby, You have always been one of my biggest idols. This book has opened my eyes to the real Abby and I hope I get to meet you one day. You are so brave for writing about such vulnerable times in your life. Thank you for sharing your story including your ups and downs. Listening to your stories made me think about where I was in my life during your big milestones. It made me thinking about my life and past with all the ups and downs. Talking about the Gold Medal win in England and the World Dear Abby, You have always been one of my biggest idols. This book has opened my eyes to the real Abby and I hope I get to meet you one day. You are so brave for writing about such vulnerable times in your life. Thank you for sharing your story including your ups and downs. Listening to your stories made me think about where I was in my life during your big milestones. It made me thinking about my life and past with all the ups and downs. Talking about the Gold Medal win in England and the World Cup win in Canada always fills me up with joy and happy tears as I was there to see you and the team first hand. I had no idea how much you had to go through and give up to be that soccer player. Now, I can respect and admire you more as a person rather than just an athlete. Thank you for this book and all of you have done for me over the years. You will always be an inspiration and hold a special place in my heart. Thank you Abby. Always, Steph

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chessa

    I listened to this audiobook all in one go while under the weather in bed, and it was just great. I'm not a huge sports person in general, and I chose this as a potential contender for the sports category for the 2017 Read Harder challenge - and I'm glad I did. Wambach's book is about sports - but not only sports. This is really a moving memoir, full of the search for love and belonging, self-knowledge and worthiness. I metaphorically bit my nails during her games, cheered with her successes, cr I listened to this audiobook all in one go while under the weather in bed, and it was just great. I'm not a huge sports person in general, and I chose this as a potential contender for the sports category for the 2017 Read Harder challenge - and I'm glad I did. Wambach's book is about sports - but not only sports. This is really a moving memoir, full of the search for love and belonging, self-knowledge and worthiness. I metaphorically bit my nails during her games, cheered with her successes, cried during her low points. There are a LOT of feelings in this books, which aren't always my #1 fave, but if you can hang with them, it's worth it. Highly recommend. The book is read by the author, and it took me a minute to get into the groove of her speech cadence, I got there and it was very listenable.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Poorly written. My biggest complaint is that all of the people in the book are one-dimensional and it's really hard to tell them apart. My second biggest complaint is that there is so little reflection or emotion in the book that it's hard to feel invested in Abby or anyone else--it feels like a list of events. From what I've heard in other sources, Abby is a wonderful person and I don't think this book paints a good picture of her at all. Poorly written. My biggest complaint is that all of the people in the book are one-dimensional and it's really hard to tell them apart. My second biggest complaint is that there is so little reflection or emotion in the book that it's hard to feel invested in Abby or anyone else--it feels like a list of events. From what I've heard in other sources, Abby is a wonderful person and I don't think this book paints a good picture of her at all.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    My sister went to see Abby talk and bought this book with Abby's autograph for me. Thanks Gail! I'm a huge Women's soccer fan! I loved reliving the amazing soccer moments through Abby's eyes. It was also interesting to hear her struggles with alcohol and personal trials. She seems like a really strong and courageous woman. I have tremendous respect for her. My sister went to see Abby talk and bought this book with Abby's autograph for me. Thanks Gail! I'm a huge Women's soccer fan! I loved reliving the amazing soccer moments through Abby's eyes. It was also interesting to hear her struggles with alcohol and personal trials. She seems like a really strong and courageous woman. I have tremendous respect for her.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I love women's soccer and I thought this book was amazing. It was fascinating to read about Abby's successes and mistakes and I definitely respect her more as a person after reading this. Recommended even if you aren't a fan of women's soccer, but especially recommended if you are. I love women's soccer and I thought this book was amazing. It was fascinating to read about Abby's successes and mistakes and I definitely respect her more as a person after reading this. Recommended even if you aren't a fan of women's soccer, but especially recommended if you are.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Feisty Harriet

    I really appreciated the rawness, honesty, and grit of this book, of Abby Wambach. I think this book came into my life at just the right time, and I am only a little bit embarassed to admit that once or twice it made me do the ugly cry.

  26. 5 out of 5

    nomadreader (Carrie D-L)

    Raw, honest, gripping, inspiring and real. I particulalry enjoyed her narration on the audiobook.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    4.5 stars

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nerdette Podcast

    This memoir is raw and intense and pulls no punches. It's brutally honest and gorgeous. This memoir is raw and intense and pulls no punches. It's brutally honest and gorgeous.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aoife Jeffries

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Abby Wambach is a professional American soccer player, who plays for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She is a legend in the sport, because of her epic header goals on the field, and also her leadership in the development of the women’s game off the field. After she retired, she wrote a book about her journey called Forward: A Memoir. In her book, she described her soccer career, from her youth teams, to her college career, and eventually her achievements at the international level. This is an in Abby Wambach is a professional American soccer player, who plays for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She is a legend in the sport, because of her epic header goals on the field, and also her leadership in the development of the women’s game off the field. After she retired, she wrote a book about her journey called Forward: A Memoir. In her book, she described her soccer career, from her youth teams, to her college career, and eventually her achievements at the international level. This is an interview from right after the 2015 World Cup, in which Abby Wambach is being interviewed about her point of view and opinions on her famous career, and how she came to be such a successful player. Q: Who do you think drove you to be successful and dedicated to soccer as a young player and how? A: I grew up in a household with six other siblings, and we were extremely competitive. Even when I was very young, my brothers would take me to the neighborhood cul de sac, and hammer shots at me until sundown. I loved it. I was also very driven because of my mother. She raised us with a very strict list of rules, and we were all so eager to please her, that even that became a competition. My family members are all very high achievers. We have doctors, musicians, sports-stars, entrepreneurs, the list goes on. So, I decided that I was going to be good at soccer. When my mother came to my games, I would put in tremendous effort, and score as many goals as I could, just to impress her. Eventually, I grew out of that and started scoring for myself, but without the need to impress her and my siblings, I wouldn’t have pushed myself so hard during my childhood, and probably wouldn’t be here today. Q: How do you think your life outside of soccer affects your career? A: I think, although I tried to keep my two worlds separate, my life off the field significantly affected my soccer career. I struggled to keep my relationships intact, because of the travel and time commitment of soccer. My mother would also lecture me about my problematic relationships, because me being a lesbian definitely threw a wrench in her perfect christian family. These outside distractions affected my mental game, and I found myself feeling sad and unable to stay focused during training and games. In college at the University of Florida, this led to a drinking problem, where I would drink in order to block out everything and stay focused solely on soccer. At the time, I thought I was invincible, so I would go to parties, drink, eat poorly, and show up the next day to practice, thinking I could make it through. I couldn’t because I was becoming less and less fit, and my mental health was deteriorating more and more. This was a difficult time for me, but as I matured and continued my career, I became better and balancing life and soccer, and I ended up having an amazing career, so I am very grateful for that. Q: Unfortunately, as you know, you are nearing retirement. What would you consider the highlights of your soccer career? A: Yes, I am planning to retire soon, because my body and my skills can no longer compete with the younger generations of soccer players that are joining the program. I will miss it, but I am satisfied with my career, and I am excited to see where the team will go and what they will accomplish after I leave, I believe that they have a very bright future ahead of them. The highlights of my career would definitely have to be the World Cups and Olympics. These major tournaments bring such a rush of adrenaline, and it is amazing to play at such a high level. Just to play was an experience of a lifetime, but winning them was indescribable! We felt on top of the world when we got gold at the Olympics, and the fact that I got to do that twice is incredible. I will never forget these Olympic wins, but what I consider to be the single best part of my career was winning the 2015 World Cup. I knew that this would be my last World Cup, and I wanted desperately to get a win. The final was in Vancouver, and the energy in the stadium was breathtaking. As I was standing on that podium after 90 hard minutes against Japan, I felt happier than I ever have before in my lifetime. I knew I was aging out of the game, and this was a perfect way to end my career on a high note. Now we have a couple victory tour games left, and that’s it for my career! It’s crazy to think about, but I’m not upset. It’s the right time for me to retire, and I’m excited to support the team as they continue their journey to the 2016 Olympics. Q: What is your relationship with your teammates like, and how does it affect you on and off the field? A: My teammates aren’t just my teammates, they’re my family. Part of the reason that our chemistry on the field is so smooth is because we know each other so well off the field. In the locker room and in the huddle, we don’t even have to say anything, because we know what we are all thinking. We all have the same goal, to win, and we do that by supporting each other and playing as a team. Off the field, we hang out, and of course the long bus and plane rides to get to games are bonding opportunities as well. Everyone has their own personality and role that they bring to the team, and they all fit together to create a fun and intense training and game environment, which helps us to be successful. Q:What were some of the biggest obstacles over the course of your career, youth and professional? A: Well, I struggled a lot with focusing on soccer and keeping my body healthy. I didn’t usually have trouble succeeding at training and games in my youth and in college, because I was willing and able to push myself as hard as I needed to in order to finish the task. That said, I made it much harder on myself, and that’s why for a short period of time I started hating practice instead of looking forward to it. My life outside of soccer, especially in college, was hectic. I had chaotic, unhealthy relationships with my significant others and my family, and that was a big distraction for me. I drank, ate junk food, and didn’t bother to work out, and it all caught up with me later in life. Learning to organize my time and priorities and keep my personal life from affecting my game was one of the biggest challenges in my career, but I overcame it to become the dedicated, focused, and skillful player that I needed to be to play at the international level. Q: When and why did you make the decision to play professionally? Was it a difficult choice? A: From a young age, I had a dream to play professionally, and although at times it seemed like soccer wasn’t my first priority, the dream was always there. So, I continued to put all my effort into playing with the Gators, and when I got a national team call up I was ecstatic. I worked hard at the national level to maintain my spot, because growing up in such a competitive family made me learn that my spot on the team is never guaranteed, and I need to work for it every single practice. The decision wasn’t difficult at all for me. Playing professionally was my ultimate goal, so of course when I was offered a spot I took it. I struggled with my mental and physical health for a while, but once I left college and played with the national team, I realized that if I wanted to have a steady career at this level, I needed to get my act together. I managed to do this, and I’m so glad that I did because playing professionally was a wonderful experience for me. Q: Describe how you felt after winning the World Cup, and tell us about the journey leading up to the tournament. A: Winning the World Cup was hands-down the most amazing experience of my life. I had already played in two World Cups and lost, so I was dying to finally get a win. Of course, the training leading up to it was rigorous, and my body and fitness just wasn’t as good as it once was in my younger years. After playing mostly full 90’s in my last World Cup, the mental transition to having my role be a substitute rather than a starter was also difficult. My personal life got very complicated leading up to the tournament, and my public lawsuit against FIFA for having us play on artificial turf was time-consuming. I was letting this get to me at the beginning of camp, and my teammates noticed, but as our first exhibition game approached, I managed to snap out of it. During the World Cup, I was in and out, starter and sub, goals and misses. I played my final World Cup minutes in the championship game, and when the whistle blew and we had won the game, I felt exhilarated. I celebrated like there was no tomorrow, because it was my last World Cup, and I had finally gotten the win that I had worked so hard for all these years. I am proud of my performance, but I am also so grateful for the support of my friends and family, I never would’ve been able to make this dream come true without all of you. Q: Do you have any pregame rituals that help you feel ready and less anxious before matches? How did you establish them? A: Actually, I do have a lot of pregame rituals that I developed over the years, and although they are superstitious, they help me prepare mentally to play. If I carry out all my superstitions and rituals, then I feel in the zone and ready for any opponent. The list is extensive, so I won’t describe all of it, but in the locker room, the first thing I do is lay out my cleats and shin guards on the floor in front of me. Then, I put on my cleats, shin guards, and socks, and proceed to use athletic tape to put a tape ring around my finger, to represent and remind me of my loved ones. After the locker room, I walk out onto the field, do 25 juggles, kick it up and trap it, to get myself confident on the ball before the game. Those are the most important specific rituals to me, but I also have some other more general things that I tend to do before games. I like to hype myself up on the bus. I sing, dance, and laugh with me team. In the last few minutes of the ride, I stay quiet and listen to music, to focus myself for the game, and finally, I just get out onto the field and play! Since I played at such a competitive level, I followed these rituals based on the question: “If I don’t, what will happen?” I didn’t want to risk bad luck, so they became regular habits. Q: On the field, what do you think you’re individual role was as a player? A: In my early years as a player, I was a goal scorer. I was young, fit, and very tall, so my teammates always looked to find me for the header, which almost always found the back of the net. However, as I got older, my role on the team changed a little bit. I was becoming a veteran, and before I knew it the players that I played with earlier started to retire, and a sea of new faces began to join the squad. My skill and fitness declined a little bit, as is expected with age, so I became a motivator for my team. I still scored, and played matches, but I was no longer guaranteed a starting position. What I now consider my role to be is to hype up my teammates. To jump in the middle of the huddle and scream, I do whatever it takes to convince my teammates that we can win this game, no matter the opponent. On the field, or even on the sideline, I get up and shout to encourage my teammates, and I think that the confidence, adrenaline, and positive mindset that I give to the team is extremely influential. Q: Finally, for all the young players that look up to and admire you, what is some advice that you would like to give as a role model to them? A: To all the young soccer players out there who look up to me and my team, I would like to say that it’s not your failures that define you, but how you react to them and use them to change. As a person and a player, I had many faults and failures throughout my life, and I believe that the fact that I was able to learn and grow from them was the key to my success. This mindset has led me to become the player that I am today, and hopefully it will for you too, on and off the field. Believe that you can, and you will.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bailey Frederking

    I often struggle reviewing a memoir because I want to really embrace the ways in which someone chooses to tell their story. Memories invite us, as readers, into such a vulnerable space. I can only imagine it taking an immense amount of courage to return back to painful memories, to process your own short-comings, failures, and hurts. Abby brings in honesty and humility. She’s speaks not only on equality for women, but also on addiction. And pressure. And the wrestle with feeling that what you do I often struggle reviewing a memoir because I want to really embrace the ways in which someone chooses to tell their story. Memories invite us, as readers, into such a vulnerable space. I can only imagine it taking an immense amount of courage to return back to painful memories, to process your own short-comings, failures, and hurts. Abby brings in honesty and humility. She’s speaks not only on equality for women, but also on addiction. And pressure. And the wrestle with feeling that what you do is your identity. And more. This book got me back on a soccer field and had me tearing up in scenes that I could so vividly see and feel.

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