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Football | International

Abby Wambach © Action Images

Wambach wins women's player of year



US football veteran Abby Wambach, 32, won Fifa's coveted Women's Player of the Year award for the first time on Monday.

The forward's five goals in the London Olympics helped the United States win gold.

The Americans capped their London campaign with a 2-1 victory over Japan in the final, a win that was particularly meaningful after they lost to Japan in the 2011 Women's World Cup final.

Wambach is the first American to win the award since Mia Hamm in 2002.

Wambach bested Brazil's Marta and her US teammate Alex Morgan in the voting, which is decided by a poll of captains, national team coaches and international media. Wambach earned 20.67 percent of the votes to 13.50 for Marta and 10.87 for Alex Morgan.

"Most importantly, winning any individual award is a total product of the team that you play for," the striker said. "I've never scored a goal without receiving a pass from my teammates. Thanks to all the fans out there who continue to inspire me and the rest of the team to win as many games as we can."

Wambach began international play in 2001 when she was chosen for the under-21 national team. She also played with Hamm on the Washington Freedom during the short-lived US women's football league.

With 152 international goals, Wambach is closing in on Hamm's record of 158.

Argentine legend Lionel Messi won the prestigious award for the men's side. It was his record fourth win.

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