Everyone loves Abby: Behind the scenes with Wambach, leader of the Wolfpack

“Here we go,”  I whispered to my director and producer as we stood on the porch of Abby Wambach’s home, my fist just about to knock on the door of one of the most prolific female athletes of our time.

A soccer player myself, I was a fangirl about to meet a legend. Ramaa, Hope and I had been invited to Wambach’s house because we were shooting a commercial with the icon, her wife and their daughters. The three of us were nervous. But I was about to discover we had no reason to be.

Sure, she is #20, the Scoringest Pro Soccer Player Ever (girls and guys).

Yeah, she once had to get her head stapled back together during a World Cup qualifier and kept playing.

And of course Abby’s also a badass off the field, fighting for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team to get equal pay, sharing her story of resilience in her memoir Forward, and inspiring all women to come together and lead in her brand new book, Wolfpack.

But when she opened the door I didn’t see a person overfull with accomplishment or intimidating because of the pop culture influence she has. Instead she was standing there in her nearly 6 foot, tan, golden-haired glory – beaming blue eyes alit with concern.

“Honey! Come here! Down, Honey!” she called after the tiny French bulldog that darted out of the house and began jumping at our ankles. “Sorry about her,” she grinned apologetically, turning those blue eyes up to acknowledge us.

Then she lunged forward and pulled Ramaa in for an unsuspecting hug.

A hug!

“Hi. I’m Abby. I’m a hugger,” she laughed. Then she hugged Hope, then me, with equal enthusiasm. And it wasn’t the kind of hug you give an acquaintance on the street when you’re kissing their cheeks and trying to get on with the day. This was a warm, no boundaries bear hug. It was real.

Holy mother of wow. Could Abby be the real thing? Could she and her wife (the best-selling author and social warrior Glennon Doyle) actually be what they seem to be on Instagram – perfectly imperfect? And therefore awesome?

“Yes, I’d love a glass of water,” I managed to get out when she offered, then she introduced us to an equally welcoming (and pajama-clad!) Glennon and we sat on their couch and chatted like old friends while time stopped before getting to the business at hand.

Fast forward a day, when the rest of our creative team arrived at the hotel, dying to know how the Abby meeting went.

Did she like the script?

Did she have any rewrites?

Did we nail the scene locations and finalize wardrobe?

I was expected to have all the answers since I was the lead copywriter and that’s why they’d sent me. “OMG, I love Abby!” I spurted, then I tried to describe her larger than life, magnetic personality.

I might have lost credibility if Hope hadn’t cut in with her own OMG. “I love Abby too! So does Ramaa! It’s all we can talk about. There’s just something about her. She’s amazing.”

Friends, the Abby effect is no myth. There's a reason all our daughters look up to her and all us moms want to be her. She's the real deal.

Fangirl moment aside, I’ve been in the ad business for two decades and have been privileged to work with some big names. On top of the personal thrill of getting to meet people I admire like Wambach, there’s also the important work we sometimes get to make together and the empowering messages we put out into the world. Projects like this are what make all the weekends I've spent penning bad puns for toxic bosses worth it.

Written in celebration of Mother’s Day, “Raising Daughters” is a modern take on motherhood (because two moms are better than one, right?), and a rally cry to all the young women in our lives, delivered by the most badass soccer mom on the planet.

Just a couple soccer players
hanging out on set
This new commercial is second in the line-up of work I’ve written for Secret deodorant’s partnership with the U.S. Women’s soccer team (watch the first spot here) and the film features Abby telling her 13 year-old self how to be a team player and strong leader both on the field and off.

God, I love Abby. And I loved making this work with my #girlgang #wolfpack.

My personal highlight? (Aside from this world champion making me the most perfect cup of coffee, and serving it to me in the very Yeti I saw her drink from several days before.) I got to work one on one with her – well, okay, my director was there too. We were recording Abby reading the lines I’d written for her. Which was totally a pinch-me moment, because, have you heard her Barnard commencement speech, the one that inspired Wolfpack? It went beyond viral, was a wake-up call to women everywhere, and her voice is truly ah-may-zing. So there she was, reading MY script, my words, giving them every ounce of power I’d hoped they’d have.

And I guess I must have been getting verklempt because Ramaa turned to Abby and said, “You’re making my writer choke up and cry.”

At which point The Scoringest Soccer Player in History turned, gesturing with my script in her hand, and told me, “You did a really good job.”

Uhm….the feeling is mutual.

Check out my new commercial and tell me if you don’t agree she killed it?

Then forward it to all the she-wolves in your pack and help spread the #Abbylove.

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My creative Girl Gang with the leader of the Wolfpack

Abby even signed this for my daughter