Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm playing soccer

Wikimedia Commons

Mia Hamm playing soccer

Mariel Magret, also known as Mia Hamm, was born on March 17, 1972, in Selma, Alabama. Mia Hamm was the best-known player in the USA women’s national team that dominated the global scene in 1990. In 1991 and 1999, she starred on the U.S national team that won World Cup championships and Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004.  She played forward and retired in 2004 from the national team with 158 goals in international competitions. This was the most goals any player has made (males and females), but in 2013, countrywoman Abby Wambach broke that record. The top college programs were interested in Hamms goal scoring when she was a teenager. Even the National team was drawn to her goal-scoring. She entered the U.S team at the age of 15, making her the youngest person to be a member of the U.S team. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the University Mia went to in 1989. When she graduated in 1994, she had helped the Tar Heels win four National Collegiate Athletic Association championships. In Atlanta in 1996, Mia became an Olympic champion. Then the U.S women won silver in 1995 and 2003 World Cup tournaments. They also took a silver medal for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. In 2004 they won a gold medal at the Olympics in Athens.  Mia participated in the Women’s World cup in Sweden. Her team won bronze in 1995. Since Hamm was the team’s star, they enjoyed media attention unprecedented for a women’s sports team. Her jersey number, 9, became more popular, and her popularity, which continued after she retired, rivaled that of the best-known male athletes. 

 

She was a role model to aspiring young girls who lacked an icon to look up to. Hamm’s shy and modest off-the-field became significant in many ways in women’s football after sponsors tried to take advantage of that. ¨In short, I’m just a football player. I´ve not freed any slaves or changed the world. I just play football and enjoy my success´´, Mia said once, speaking to the humility that defines her as a football player and a person. ¨When Mia has the ball at her feet. You have the feeling that something great will happen¨. This is how her teammate Julie Foudy best described her as a footballer.