FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala Quote Sheet
Jan. 7, 2013
U.S. Women's National Team Forward ABBY WAMBACH
On winning the 2012 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award:
“I think it was so overwhelming in the moment because I really had no idea that I would win. I really thought Alex was going to win. I’m not even kidding. She not only statistically but I think singlehandedly allowed us to win so many games and score so many goals. She probably assisted over half of my goals. The fact that I was sitting next to Alex and the fact that we were there together is the most important part. This is a direct reflection of my teammates, both present and past, my coaching staff, medical staff, press officer – it’s been a long time that I’ve been playing on this team, and I couldn’t appreciate all that everybody has done for me. Winning the Olympics with my teammates was obviously fantastic. This is for them. This is theirs. For the fans, too. It’s unbelievable.”
“I’m very, very surprised. Individual honors only happen if you have great teams and great people who have given you the chance to be here. Not only do I think Marta and Alex could have won, but many other players could have been here as well. Thanks to FIFA, thanks to U.S. Soccer and thanks to all the fans and my family for putting me in this position. I don’t think of myself as the best player in the world, just a player who plays on the best team in the world.”
On her run over the past 10 years:
“I have been around for a while. I think that this is a culminating moment for me in terms of not feeling justified but the sacrifices that go into what we do on a daily basis is huge. The things that I’ve missed with my family and the events that I have had to say no to because I’m training and I have a dream and I have a desire. It never has been my desire to be the best in the world individually. It’s always about winning championships – that’s all that I really care about. I’d gladly return this and win a World Cup championship, gladly, any day of the week. Ten years for me has been an incredible ride. I hope to continue it for as long as I can. But for tonight we’re going to celebrate 2012 in style. And Pia winning Coach of the Year, it’s perfect. This year is nice in that we get to reflect on the growth that we’ve had and the strides we’ve made as a team and for us individually, the dedication that it took for us to get here.”
On Pia Sundhage and her deserving of FIFA Women’s World Coach of the Year:
“Pia is the not the only great coach in the world, but in my opinion, this year she exemplified what separated her from all the other great coaches, and that was the ability to get her team to come home with the championship. That task is certainly not easy these days. A lot of things have to go right, a lot of your players have to play well and at the end of the day, she was the last coach standing. Her humility and her ability to effectively motivate her players are things I’ll never forgot and always be thankful for.”
“There’s no question in my mind who wins coach of the year. There are so many great coaches in the world, even not in the international games, coaching college, youth national teams, and for her to be able to bring together the personalities on our team and to take on the responsibility of losing in 2011 and turning it on its head and bringing home the gold, that’s something that takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of smarts and it takes a lot of guts. She’s gutsy. Not only that, she sang during her acceptance speech. At least she’s true to who she is because that’s exactly what we expected.”
U.S. Women's National Team Forward ALEX MORGAN
On Abby Wambach winning the FIFA World Player of the Year:
“I’m so happy for Abby for all the work she has put into this team and into the sport. She’s so completely deserving of this award and I’m truly happy for her. She’s made such a huge mark on women’s soccer over the past decade. She’s an inspirational to not only the thousands of young girls around the country and world, but also to me.”
On Pia Sundhage winning the FIFA World Coach of the Year:
“I’m so happy for Pia because she sacrificed so much to come to the U.S., put on our crest every day and make us her priority day in and day out. She gave me my first cap so I feel indebted to her. Going into the Olympics, we definitely wanted to show the world we were number one and Pia really helped us stay positive, stay on track and take the field every game with that positivity and confidence that we could win. At the same time, she was always reminding us to continue to have fun and respect and enjoy the game. She completely deserves this award and we all wish her good luck to her in the future."
On Abby Wambach winning 2012 FIFA Women's Player of the year:
"I'm really overjoyed for Abby. Going into this night we were going back and forth: she was telling me I was going to win and I was tell her she was going to win. We were taking it light the whole night but honestly I knew she was going to win. [When she won] I teared up a little bit and I knew her parents and family were going to be so excited. She always knows the right thing to say, who to thank and I really admire what she did tonight and how she presents herself."
On how she has looked up to Wambach during her career with the WNT:
"I've been watching Abby since she came onto this team. That's when I really grew my passion for this game. She's really become a great ambassador for the sport. I really admire that and I've learned so much from her. She's a great leader for our team. I'm excited to play up top with her and have her as a teammate leading up to the 2015 [FIFA Women's] World Cup."
On the Gala in Zurich:
"The night was really exciting. I was really happy to come down here, pick out a dress. get all dolled up and meet some of the best players in the world. It was great to be surrounded by them and be surrounded by people who love the game as much as I do."
On how seeing Abby win the award motivates her to continue building her career:
"I'm just as happy and maybe even more happy that Abby won this award because she's so deserving of it. I'm just breaking into new ground, becoming my own player and making my mark on this sport. But Abby has made her mark on the sport. Coming here tonight makes me look forward to the future and seeing Abby up on the stage motivates me to get out on the soccer field, work hard and be back here in the coming years. I want to see this again and be one of the world's best. I have a lot of learning to do and that's from people like Abby, Marta and my teammates."
Former U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On winning FIFA Women's Coach of the Year:
"It's just a perfect day. It's been such a good year and getting that trophy I'd like to share it with all the people I've been working with, players and staff. But you can't do that so I think I'll just keep it myself! It's just fantastic. I'm living my dream."
On what it means personally to be named Coach of the Year:
"It gives me a lot of confidence and you remember the fact we've been doing something good together. I get more sure about the way I'm coaching and it's a little bit about tactics but also about leadership. Of course I also had really good people to work with and some really good players."
On concluding her time with the USA:
"I've been in the states for five years and went to three finals. This is the third time I've been here at FIFA and I got the award. It couldn't be better."
On being at the event in Zurich:
"This is a dream. You're standing next to Iniesta and Messi, or Abby, Alex and Marta. There were some really good faces and footballers. It's amazing."
On Abby Wambach winning FIFA Women's Player of the Year:
"Abby made me look good and her teammates made me look good. Abby is a role model and I'm really happy she's player of the year. She deserves it."