Abby Wambach spent years of her playing career abusing vodka and pills

Written By Adi Joseph
(Getty Images)

Abby Wambach is the all-time leading scorer in international soccer, men's or women's. She also was suffering from addiction for many of those years, which she revealed as she prepares for the release of her memoir.

"This isn't something that just snuck up on me when I retired from soccer," the U.S. women's soccer legend told The Associated Press. "This is something I've been dealing with for years now."

MORE: Childhood photos of USWNT stars

Wambach retired from the U.S. women's national team in 2015 and was arrested in April for DUI. During that process, reports suggested she had used weed and cocaine in the past, though the extent was not known.

She called the arrest a moment of awakening.

"That night getting arrested was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Because if I don't get so publicly shamed and publicly humiliated, I don't think I wake up," she told AP. "I think I was asleep for a lot of years. Asleep to the pleas from my family and friends, and even myself, to get help. So that night I was humiliated enough to wake up."

MORE: Wambach's arrest shouldn't impact her sport

Her memoir is titled "Forward," for her position on the pitch. Wambach scored 184 goals for the USWNT. 

Wambach says she has been sober since that night she got the DUI.

"This isn't something that just snuck up on me when I retired from soccer," she said. "This is something I've been dealing with for years now." 

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