An internationally witnessed case of stage fright shut the door on lucrative sportscasting for U.S. soccer Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach, but the collapse of that pursuit opened the door to a fulfilling career as a self-starting business entrepreneur.

In her new book, Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game, Wambach describes the humiliation of failing in public during ESPN’s broadcast of the men’s 2016 UEFA European Championship.

“The second the red ‘on air’ light turned on, my brain turned off. I couldn’t even remember how to speak. When I checked my Twitter feed it became clear that the rest of the world could tell, too. I had failed.

“Commentating is what former athletes do. I kept thinking, “After failing at this, are there any options left for me?’’ I decided I could take from it that I wasn’t—at this moment—destined to be a commentator. A few months later, I founded my leadership company. Every day now, I do what I love—teaching emerging leaders how to become champions for themselves and others.’’

Wambach is a twice Olympic gold medalist, an FIFA World Cup champion and the highest all-time international goal scorer—184—for both male and female soccer players. She began playing soccer in a youth league at 5, and retired in 2015, at 35. In 2015, Wambach was listed among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

She is the co-founder of Florida-based Wolfpack Endeavor, which offers corporate leadership development for women.

Wolfpack grew out of a commencement speech Wambach gave to the Barnard College Class of 2018.

“Since I identify as a woman, this book is written from a woman’s point of view. The leadership ideas, however, are universal.’’ She recalls being asked by a man whose company wanted to hire Wolfpack Endeavor whether her presentation was applicable to men, also.

“Good question! But only if you’ve asked every male speaker you’ve hired if his message is applicable to women, too.’’

The Wolfpack’s Eight New Rules can apply to men but because of what Wambach sees as “The backlash against progress toward equal justice for all (women, minorities, alternative sexual identifiers),’’ they may have less urgency for white males or readers content with their lot.

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