Abby Wambach embraces her wife Sarah Huffman
Women are at the forefront of LGBT openness in the football world, with at least 17 openly lesbian or bisexual participants taking part in this past week’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
On Sunday, the American team scored five goals against Japan’s two in the tournament’s final in Vancouver, Canada, becoming the world title holders for the first time since 1999.
One of the most memorable moments was a joyous embrace and kiss between USA captain Abby Wambach and her wife Sarah Huffman.
The ecstatic player ran to the grandstands after the final whistle was blown, and reached up to share the emotional moment with Huffman, whom she married almost two years ago.
In May, Wamach told the New York Times that she had intended her 2013 Hawaii wedding to be a low key affair.
“I never felt like I had to have this huge party for myself about my sexuality,” Wambach said. “To make a party for something that I think of as normal, for me, that just didn’t seem authentic. I wanted it to be as normal as possible.”
According to Outsports, there are three out players in the US team, in addition to its head coach. Sweden boasts four out players and a coach.
Other than the US and Sweden, out players who have spoken to the media about their sexuality include those from Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Australia, Canada and England; bringing the total in the tournament to 17.
In comparison, in the last men’s World Cup, there was not a single openly gay or bisexual player.
In another boost for women’s football, it was revealed on Monday that Sunday’s final was the most watched soccer game ever in the US, with 45,4 million viewers.
The previous record was for the US vs Portugal game in the 2014 Men’s World Cup Game, which reached 18,2 million viewers.