By Wilfred Chan
Before tonight, Abby Wambach had everything but the World Cup.
So when her squad’s memorable 5-2 triumph over Japan was sealed, she chose an unforgettable way to celebrate.
With the crowd roaring, as cameras flashed, Wambach — one of the greatest players in the history of women’s soccer — ran to the stadium’s edge and leapt into the stands to kiss her wife, Sarah Huffman.
For many fans, the pair’s tender embrace was the perfect tribute to the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage across the nation more than a week ago. Wambach and Huffman were married in 2013 in Hawaii.
Excited fans shared the moment on Twitter, adding the hashtag #LoveWins.
There was another reason the kiss came just in the nick of time: Wambach, 35, has said this World Cup would almost certainly be her last — and her final chance to win the coveted title.
The two-time Olympic Gold medalist and 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year watched most of the final match from the sidelines.
But when she came on the pitch as a substitute in the 79th minute, the stadium erupted with the chanting of her name.
As the clock wound down, fans cheered as Carli Lloyd, who scored a memorable hat trick in only the first 16 minutes of the match, gave Wambach her captain’s armband.
It was a fitting honor for Wambach, who has been called the “soul” of the U.S. team and has scored more international goals than any other person of any gender in soccer history: 183.
Now she’s capped off her career with a beautiful kiss — and the World Cup trophy.