ESPN Films’ SEC “Storied” series continues with Abby Head On, premiering Wednesday, May 15, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The film chronicles Abby Wambach’s soccer career thus far, from winning a national title at Florida to her rise as a U.S. women’s national team star only four goals away from breaking Mia Hamm’s all-time international scoring record.
About Abby Head On
A phenom from Rochester, NY, Abby Wambach defied convention by spurning soccer dynasty North Carolina in favor of the University of Florida, an upstart program which, at the time, was only in its fourth year of existence. That decision paid off quickly, as in her 1998 freshman season Wambach helped the Gators nab the SEC’s first and only national championship in soccer – defeating the powerhouse Tar Heels in the final.
With four SEC Tournament titles, two SEC Player of the Year awards and the title of all-time leading scorer at Florida, Wambach positioned herself as a top pick in the 2002 WUSA draft. Selected by the Washington Freedom, she starred alongside icon Mia Hamm and earned a roster spot on an already talent-laden U.S. women’s national team, for which she has starred for the last decade.
Wambach cemented her spot in soccer lore in a quarterfinal match against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup, scoring a signature goal with her head in the waning seconds of extra time to prevent an embarrassing early exit from the tournament. Wambach’s heroics propelled her team to victory and ignited interest in women’s soccer.
Abby Head On shows how Wambach, recently honored as the 2012 FIFA Player of the Year, has made her mark on the sport and become one of the best this country has ever produced.
*Digital screeners and promotional photos available upon request*
Co-directed by Peabody and Emmy award-winners Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby, Abby Head On features revealing interviews from Wambach’s high school, college and U.S. head coaches, current and former teammates including Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Alex Morgan, and Wambach’s family. The film is narrated by Pro Football Hall of Famer and former University of Florida football player Jack Youngblood.
“Abby has been a huge part of sustaining and growing the popularity of women’s soccer over the last decade,” said director Erin Leyden. “Her decision to go to Florida instead of one of the more traditional soccer powerhouses says a lot about her, and we’re excited for the opportunity to tell her story to a wider audience.”
Quotes from Abby Head On
Wambach on winning the 1998 National Championship vs. UNC: “It’s like the first biggest thing I won. I’m a romantic when it comes to stuff so I think that getting to Florida and having the storybook ending—that was the only thing I was thinking about. It wasn’t about me, it was about us.”
Former teammate Andi Sellers Goodwin on Wambach’s progression in the game: “She saw it as, ‘This could be my livelihood. This could be my career.’ And as she grew older and college went on you saw that focus really sharpen and you saw her training just really intensify.”
Wambach on learning from others: “I’ve always been motivated more by negative comments than by positive ones. I know what I do well. Tell me what I don’t do well.”
Wambach on the tough times that still haunt her: “When you’re talking about great athletes and great success stories most of those people can recall the time in which they fell down the hardest.”
ESPN Films launched the “Storied” documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the Southeastern Conference. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the “Storied” series features films from the SEC’s recent and more distant past. Abby Head On is the eighth film in the SEC “Storied” series, joining past films Miracle 3, Going Big, and Lolo, among others.
About ESPN Films
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing compelling sports stories. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 film series. Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators. Additional projects from ESPN Films include, among others, the critically acclaimed and Television Academy Honor-winning 16th Man, Cannes Film Festival official selection The Two Escobars, and the Peabody Award-winning Black Magic. More recent projects include Catching Hell, from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, and The Announcement, from filmmaker Nelson George. 30 for 30 Volume II has featured documentaries Broke, directed by Billy Corben, and 9.79*, directed by Daniel Gordon. For more information on 30 for 30, go to espn.com/30for30/.
SEC on ESPN
ESPN, Inc., and the Southeastern Conference entered into a landmark 15-year agreement for extensive football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championship content across multiple ESPN entities beginning with the 2009-10 academic year. As a result, ESPN Regional Television became the over-the-air syndication home for Southeastern Conference programming and the largest college sports syndication television package in the country. In 2012, SEC Network basketball games were distributed in 77 local television markets, representing 50.4 million homes, which is 44% of the U.S.; 2011 SEC Network football games were distributed in 99 local television markets, representing 79.1 million homes, which is 69% of the U.S.
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