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Record-breaking Wambach to retire at end of 2015

Abby Wambach, the most prolific player in women's international football history, has announced she will retire at the end of 2015. 

The 35-year-old striker will bring the curtain down on her extraordinary career in December, having scored a record 184 goals in 252 appearances for United States.

Wambach, part of the side that won the 2015 World Cup, confirmed in a statement on Tuesday: "After much deliberation and talking with my friends, family, team-mates and our coaching staff, I've decided to finally bring my soccer career to an end. 

"While we still have more work to do for women's soccer, after bringing the World Cup back to the United States this summer, I'm feeling extremely optimistic about the future of our sport. It's been an amazing, wonderful ride and I can't wait to see what the next chapter of my life brings."

Wambach captured the heart of Americans during her four World Cup campaigns and also played in two Olympic Games, earning gold medals in 2004 and 2012. 

The veteran forward will be available for the final four games of United States' post-World Cup victory tour, which wraps up on December 16 against China in New Orleans.

"Abby is a player who has transcended our sport and her legacy as one of the world’s greatest players is set forever," US coach Jill Ellis said in a statement. 

"What she has done for women's soccer and women's sports overall with her amazing talents on the field and her personality off it has been inspiring to watch. 

"I am just extremely happy that she could end her career with that elusive World Cup title and go out on top, right where she deserves to be."