Olympic stars to shine in women's football league

US international Abby Wambach, winner of FIFA's 2012 Women's Footballer of the Year award, will play for the Western New York Flash in the new National Women's Soccer League, organizers said Friday.

Wambach was among 55 players -- 23 from the United States, 16 Canadians and 16 Mexicans -- allocated Friday to eight clubs in the new NWSL, which is backed by the US Soccer Federation.

The allocation process was conducted with assistance from a panel of experts familiar with the player pools, with players and clubs also given input on their preferences.

Wambach received FIFA's coveted player of the year award for 2012 on Monday after playing a key role in the United States' victorious London Olympic campaign.

The 32-year-old forward became the first American to win the award since Mia Hamm in 2002, beating out Brazilian Marta and US teammate Alex Morgan.

The Flash will also have US Olympic hero Carli Lloyd in their squad, while Morgan is headed to Portland -- where she will be joined by Canadian star Christine Sinclaire.

The allocation of players is an early step in building a foundation for the league, which is to begin play in 2013 in place of the now defunct Women's Professional Soccer (WPS).

The league will conduct a draft of college players later in January.

US Soccer is subsidizing the salaries of the 23 US players, while the Canadian Soccer Association and the Federation of Mexican Football will each do the same for 16 players.

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