Club Feet or Foot Series-Disabled Legend Mia Hamm

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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Dyslexia Series-Disabled Legend Eric Wynalda

Eric Wynalda was born on 9 June, 1969 in Fullerton, California. Eric Wynalda is an American international center forward, currently playing for Bakersfield Brigade in the USL Premier Development League. Eric Wynalda scored the first goal ever in Major League Soccer in 1996 and was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004.

Eric Wynalda grew up in Westlake Village, California. As a child his team (the Westlake Wolves) won the state championship in AYSO soccer as Eric Wynalda scored more goals than the entire division his team played in, combined (56 goals in 16 games). Eric Wynalda later attended Westlake High School and was a 3 time All State selection with the school’s boys soccer team and a youth club team mate of fellow national team player Cobi Jones.

Eric Wynalda attended San Diego State University from 1987 to 1989 where he played for the Aztecs men’s soccer team, scoring 34 goals and assisting on 25 others during his three seasons. Eric Wynalda freshman year, SDSU went to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship game where it lost to the Bruce Murray led Clemson Tigers. While at SDSU, he also played two seasons with the local semi-pro San Diego Nomads of the Western Soccer Alliance. In 1988, he played a single game and in 1989, he played 5 games with the Nomads.

Leading up to the 1990 FIFA World Cup, Eric Wynalda signed a contract with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF). After the World Cup, Eric Wynalda signed as an on loan player from USSF with the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks of the American Professional Soccer League. During his nearly 3 seasons with the Blackhawks, he played only a handful of games with the team, devoting most of his time to the national team.

However, in 1992, he experienced a falling out with both the national team and the Blackhawks. In May 1992, national team coach Bora Milutinović kicked Eric Wynalda out of a national team training camp after he elbowed a teammate in the face. A month later, he was kicked off the Blackhawks for being disruptive, and constantly bickering with the coach, Laurie Calloway. When no U.S. based team expressed an interest in Eric Wynalda, he announced his intentions to pursue a move to Europe. In August 1992, USSF loaned Eric Wynalda to Bundesliga club Saarbrücken for $45,000.

When he arrived at Saarbrucken, he became the first American-born player to play for a top level German club. Eric Wynalda had an immediate impact on the club, scoring 8 goals in the first half of the season. This led Saarbrücken to purchase Eric Wynalda’s contract from USSF for $405,000. However, his output dropped after the winter break and he only scored once in the second half. Saarbrücken finished the 1992-1993 at the bottom of the Bundesliga standings and was relegated to the Second Division. Eric Wynalda scored twelve goals in the 1993-1994 season and was transferred to fellow Second Division club VfL Bochum at the end of the season for $850,000. Wynalda failed to equal his scoring exploits with Bochum, and experienced a falling out with the club. Eric Wynalda had a hernia operation on 30 August which put him out of action. While convalesing, he criticized the club and its coach, leading to the coach suspending Eric Wynalda.

Eric Wynalda came back to the States in 1996, signing with Major League Soccer (MLS). As part of the process of creating the new league, known players were distributed throughout the league’s new teams (except for the Dallas Burn, which alone amongst all MLS sides never received a US National Team allocation from the 1994 World Cup era). The league allocated Eric Wynalda to the San Jose Clash. On 6 April, 1996 Eric Wynalda scored the first goal in league history in its inaugural game as the Clash beat D.C. United 1-0. Eric Wynalda was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year.

After the 1998 World Cup, Eric Wynalda began seeking a move back to Europe. While he had publicly declared that he would never return to Germany, including turning down a January 1998 offer from Kaiserslautern, he now began putting out feelers there. When no German teams expressed an interest in Eric Wynalda, he then sought a move to England. In December, he had a trial with Charlton Athletic, but the team did not offer Eric Wynalda a contract and Eric Wynalda returned to the Clash.

Eric Wynalda was loaned out to Club León in Mexico in 1999. Eric Wynalda tore both the ACL and medial meniscus on his left knee while with Leon which put him out of action for several months. After missing the first 11 games of the 1999 season, the Clash traded Eric Wynalda to the Miami Fusion. On 8 July, 2000, the Fusion turned around and traded Eric Wynalda to the New England Revolution for Ivan McKinley after Eric Wynalda failed to improve the Fusion’s offensive output. On 3 May, 2001, the Revs sent him to the Chicago Fire for John Wolyniec, where he finished his MLS career, ending up with a total of 34 MLS goals (plus 2 in the playoffs). In 2002, Eric Wynalda joined the Los Angeles Galaxy, announcing that he planned to retire with the team. However, he left the Galaxy during the team’s pre-season tour of Chile in order to pursue an offer to play professionally in China. When that offer fell through, he returned to the Galaxy only to leave it for the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division after feuding with the MLS front office about his salary. MLS was offering to pay Eric Wynalda $43,000 for the 2002 season which Eric Wynalda considered much too low. As the Battery had offered him $75,000, Eric Wynalda joined that team only to tear his anterier cruciate ligament in a pre-season match. Eric Wynalda elected to retire from professional soccer and became a broadcast announcer.

Eric Wynalda earned his first cap against Costa Rica on 2 February, 1990. On 14 March, 1990, he signed a contract with the United States Soccer Federation which made him a full time national team player. Later that year, Eric Wynalda played in his first World Cup gaining the dubious honor of becoming the first U.S. player to be ejected from a World Cup game. That came when Czechoslovakian midfielder Lubomir Moravcik baited Eric Wynalda in front of a referee. Eric Wynalda, showing his immaturity, retaliated and was shown red.

In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Eric Wynalda scored on a free kick from 20 yards as the United States tied Switzerland. Eric Wynalda also played in Copa America 1995, where he was named to the all-tournament team after scoring against Chile and Argentina.

In 1998, Eric Wynalda participated in his third World Cup, one of four U.S. players (Tab Ramos, Tony Meola and Marcelo Balboa) to earn that honor. Claudio Reyna and Kasey Keller have since gone on to be named to a record four World Cup rosters.

Eric Wynalda retired from the US National Team as its all-time leading scorer with 34goals in 106 appearances. Eric Wynalda was the sole owner of the record until 2007, when Landon Donovan tied the record with a penalty kick goal against Mexico in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup final. Eric Wynalda was named the Honda US Player of the Decade for the 1990s and elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004.

In 2005, Bakersfield Brigade of the USL Premier Development League hired Eric Wynalda as its technical director, and in 2007 he agreed a short-term playing contract with the team during the last few matches of their season. On 1 May, 2008 he signed a formal season-long agreement to play the entire campaign with the Brigade as a full member of the 2008 playing squad.

Eric Wynalda has also continued to play with an over-30s amateur team in Los Angeles, Hollywood United, alongside former U.S. internationals Alexi Lalas and John Harkes, former French international Frank Leboeuf, former Welsh international player Vinnie Jones, and actor Anthony La Paglia. United plays in the Los Angeles Olympic Soccer League.

Eric Wynalda was a soccer analyst for ESPN. Eric Wynalda was also the in-studio analyst for 2006 FIFA World Cup on United States, English-language broadcasts. Eric Wynalda was one of the most vocal critics of USA’s head coach, Bruce Arena, in the 2006 World Cup. However, after the World Cup, he was amicably paired in-studio with Arena as co-analysts for some 2006 MLS Cup playoff games, a successful arrangement which continued with ESPN’s coverage of the US National Team in 2007. Eric Wynalda was one of the main analysts for ESPN and ABC during the 2007 Major League Soccer season.

After a number of controversies, he left ESPN prior to the 2008 season, a year before his contract was due to expire.

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Tourettes Syndrome Series-Disabled Legend Tim Howard

Tim Howard once known as Tim Dawg, Howard managed to become the goal keeper for Manchester United of England despite his tourettes Syndrome. It was an everyday battle but he kept it under control, especially when he was to be catching and blocking 65 miles an hour curve soccer balls from the best players in the world. Tim says it’s just a battle of the will, he just constantly fights what his mind tells his body to do, he has been capable of shutting out tourettes.

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