Football: Wambach pleads guilty to DUI, enters diversion programme

Former national US footballer Abby Wambach pleaded guilty to a charge of DUI on April 12, 2016.
Former national US footballer Abby Wambach pleaded guilty to a charge of DUI on April 12, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Retired American women's football star Abby Wambach pleaded guilty to driving under the influence (DUI) of intoxicants on Tuesday, agreeing to enter a diversion programme that could see her conviction wiped out in a year.

Wambach, who helped lead the United States women's team to the 2015 World Cup title and retired as the world's leading international goal-scorer, was arrested late on Saturday night in Portland.

Police said Wambach, 35, had run a red light in her 2014 Range Rover and was taken to Multnomah County Jail on DUI charges after failing a field sobriety test. She was later released on her own recognisance.

Appearing before a judge in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Wambach, who retired from football last October, was ordered to undergo drug and alcohol assessment and treatment, put a breath-analysing device in her car, and to abstain from drinking alcohol.

She had apologised on her Facebook page a day after her April 2 arrest.

A former Olympic, professional and World Cup player, she scored more goals in international competition than any other footballer in history - male or female - before her October 2015 retirement.

She scored 184 goals in 252 matches in international play.

Wambach, a vocal supporter of women's sports, led the US team in scoring in every world championship she played until the Women's World Cup in July 2015.

Having played in four women's World Cup tournaments, she also played in two Olympics, winning goal medals in 2004 in Athens, and 2012 in London. She missed the 2008 Olympics with a broken leg.