Mia Hamm was born Mariel Margaret Hamm on 17 March, 1972 in Selma, Alabama, USA. Mia Hamm is a former American soccer player. Playing for many years as a forward for the United States women’s national soccer team, she scored more international goals in her career than any other player, male or female, in the history of the sport (158).
Mia Hamm eventually became one of the most famous women athletes in the world, an iconic symbol of women’s sports, and an inspiration and role model to a generation of sports-minded girls. Mia Hamm was named the women’s FIFA World Player of the Year the 1st 2 times that award was given (in 2001 and 2002), and is listed as one of FIFA’s 100 best living players (as chosen by Pelé). Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon called Mia Hamm, “Perhaps the most important athlete of the last 15 years.”
Mia Hamm retired from the sport in 2004, when she played her last game in the 2004 Fan Celebration Tour to commemorate the US’s Women’s National team’s victory in the 2004 Olympics. In 2007, her 1st year of eligibility, she was selected for induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame by having 137 votes of the 141 ballots cast. Women’s Professional Soccer, a professional soccer league that plans to launch in 2009, features Mia Hamm’s silhouette in its logo.
Mia Hamm was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on 11 March, 2008.
Mia Hamm is the author of Go For the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life (Harper Collins, 1999). Mia Hamm appeared in the HBO documentary Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team.
Mia Hamm spent her childhood on Air Force bases with her parents Bill and Stephanie Hamm and her 5 siblings. Mia Hamm played organised sports from a very young age, and at the age of 15 she joined the U.S. National Team, becoming the youngest ever to play for them.
Mia Hamm attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she helped the Tar Heels to 4 NCAA women’s championships in 5 years (she sat out the season of 1991 to concentrate on the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China). North Carolina only lost 1 game in 95 she played. Mia Hamm was an All-American and Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year for her last 3 years. Mia Hamm also won ACC Female Athlete of the Year in 1993 and 1994.
In 1991, when the women’s national team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time, Mia Hamm became the youngest American woman to win a World Cup championship at the age of 19.
In 1993, she was a member of the U.S. women’s national college team that played in the 1993 Summer Universiade and lost to China, obtaining the silver medal. Mia Hamm was the leading scorer with 6 goals. Mia Hamm graduated from college with the all-time records for her conference in goals with 103, assists with 72, and total points with 278.
On 22 May, 1999 Mia Hamm broke the all-time international goal record with her 108th goal in a game against Brazil in Orlando, Florida.
In 1999, Nike named the largest building on their corporate campus after Mia Hamm, and that same year she, and the rest of the women on the national team became world champions again by winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The final match surpassed the Atlanta Olympic final as the most-attended women’s sports event, with over 90,000 filling the Rose Bowl.
Also in 1999, Mia Hamm began the Mia Hamm Foundation, dedicated to help with bone marrow research and to help women’s sports programmes progress. Mia Hamm was inspired to create her foundation by her adoptive brother and original athletic inspiration, Garrett, an Amerasian who died of a bone marrow disease shortly after the 1996 Olympics. Mia Hamm had a friendly game the next day and all the members of her team wore a black armband in memory of her brother.
On 14 May, 2004, she announced her retirement effective after the 2004 Summer Olympics, expressing an interest in starting a family with her husband, Nomar Garciaparra.
In March 2004, Mia Hamm and former U.S.A. teammate Michelle Akers were the only 2 women, and the only 2 Americans, named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players selected by Pelé and commissioned by FIFA for that organisation’s 100th anniversary.
In a friendly game against Australia on 21 July, 2004 Mia Hamm scored her 151st international goal; she has long held the record in that category for any player, male or female. This match also marked her 259th international appearance; only her teammate Kristine Lilly has played in more internationals.
Mia Hamm helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and was also chosen by her fellow U.S. Olympians to carry the American flag at the Athens Closing Ceremonies. After the Olympics, Mia Hamm and her teammates went on a “farewell tour” of the United States, which finished on 8 December, 2004 against Mexico at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. In the game, which the U.S. won 5-0, Mia Hamm assisted on 2 of the goals. Mia Hamm is 1 of 3 longtime national team members who announced their retirement from international play at the end of the tour; the others are longtime captain Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett (Fawcett did not play due to back surgery after the Olympics). Mia Hamm retired with 158 international goals at the age of 32.
Mia Hamm was first married on 17 December, 1994 to her college sweetheart Christian Corry, a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, but their marriage was strained by long absences (his as a military aviator and hers in international soccer), and they divorced in 2001.
Mia Hamm married then-Boston Red Sox Shortstop, current Los Angeles Dodger Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra on 22 November, 2003 in Goleta, California in a private ceremony. A few hundred guests attended. On 27 March, 2007 she gave birth to twin girls, Grace Isabella and Ava Caroline. Though born 5 weeks early, each girl weighed over 5 pounds at birth. Twins run in both Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra’s families.
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