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COLONIE: Wambach helps next wave

One week earlier, Abby Wambach was in China playing for the United States women's soccer team and scoring two goals in a 4-1 victory over Norway in the Women's World Cup third-place game.

Last Friday, Wambach was at Afrim's Soccer Complex in Colonie teaching more than 300 young soccer players how to properly head the ball at a free clinic.

I'm exhausted, but the thing that comes to me is how thrilled and excited those kids in that gym are, said Wambach.

Wambach " helped by members of the Siena and University at Albany women's soccer teams " spent two hours working with the young players and talking about her experiences with the U.S. women's national team.

"I think we're going to be helping with the kids and learning from Abby as well," said Siena senior captain Amy Loughridge. "We were all just so excited that this was in our own backyard. It's an honor to work at this clinic."

"I think just seeing someone who has succeeded at the highest level will inspire them to try to do great things," added Burnt Hills resident Joseph Chizek, whose two children, Danielle and Tyler, attended the clinic.

The event attracted a wide variety of players " everyone from varsity high school athletes to those just starting the sport. Mohonasen girls varsity coach Duane Wood had four of his players at the clinic, as well as his daughter who plays youth soccer in Guilderland.

"I was right on the phone by 9 a.m. the day it was announced," said Wood.

Wood wasn't alone in trying to get his girls into the clinic. Players from Saratoga, Shenendehowa, Niskayuna, Bethlehem, Guilderland and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk also attended.

"It shows (the younger players) that one of the players wants to help build the national program," said Wood.

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