Mia Hamm Soccer Star
Mia Hamm is one of the most famous female soccer players in history. Her name is often synonymous with women’s soccer, and her influence is still felt today.
Hamm was born in 1972 in Selma, Alabama – the fourth child of Bill and Stephanie Hamm. Her family moved around often because of her parents’ United States Air Force jobs.
Born in 1972
Mia Hamm, born Mariel Margaret Hamm on March 17, 1972, in Selma, Alabama, is a soccer star who revolutionized women’s sports. Her skill fueled the sport’s popularity and helped establish the WUSA, America’s first professional women’s soccer league.
She played with the United States national soccer team as a forward for 17 years (from 1987 to 2004). Her career highlights include two Olympic gold medals, four NCAA women’s championships, and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2001 and 2002.
The daughter of Air Force pilot Bill Hamm and his wife, Stephanie, she grew up often traveling with her family. She lived in Florence, Italy, Virginia, and California before the family settled in Wichita Falls, Texas, where she began playing soccer at age 5.
Her father had been a soccer player, so Hamm was a natural at the sport, and her brother Garrett, who was eight years older, was her athletic role model. She developed a passion for the sport and became a champion at a young age.
She devoted her career to her team and the sport. She was a three-time All-American at the University of North Carolina, scoring 103 goals. She was also a U.S. women’s national soccer team member, which won World Cup championships in 1991 and 1999.
As a result of her success, millions of girls took up soccer, and she hugely influenced the sport. She co-founded the Women’s United Soccer Association, a nonprofit organization that paved the way for women in sports and provided opportunities for young girls to find careers. She also created the Mia Hamm Foundation for bone marrow research, formed after her brother Garrett died from a rare blood disease.
A major accomplishment was her 108-goal season in 1999 when she surpassed the international women’s goal-scoring record. She was named the ESPY Awards’ Female Athlete of the Year and a top-five athlete in the country.
In the early 2000s, she co-founded the Washington Freedom of the WUSA, a professional women’s soccer league that quickly broke attendance records. She played a key role in helping the company grow to a size that rivaled men’s teams. She later retired from professional soccer to focus on her family and charity work, including the Mia Hamm Foundation for bone medradna research.
Retired from soccer in 2004
Born in 1972, Mia Hamm was among the first women to become a major soccer star. Her popularity grew throughout the 1990s and helped spark women’s sports in the United States. She was also one of the founders of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), which established America’s first professional women’s league.
While playing for the United States women’s national team from 1987 until 2004, Hamm became one of the most popular female athletes in the country. She earned many accolades during her career, including being elected as U.S. Soccer’s “Female Athlete of the Year” five times and winning three ESPY Awards.
During her 17-year career, she played 275 games and scored 158 goals for the U.S. team, the most goals ever scored by a female player in a national group. She won a Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.
Her success on the soccer field was matched by her dedication to her family, which included her parents, Stephanie and Bill, and her adopted brother Garrett. In 1999, Mia founded the Mia Hamm Foundation to support bone marrow research after her brother died of a rare blood disease.
She also served as an executive board member of the National Women’s Soccer Association (NWSA) and a consultant to the National Girls Soccer League, helping them improve their training programs and facilities. She advocated for Title IX, the federal law that gave women’s sports equal opportunities to men’s sports in education and funding.
As a child, Hamm’s family moved around frequently due to her father’s work as an Air Force pilot, but she always had the encouragement and support of her parents. She began playing soccer at age 5 in Italy, a country that was enamored with the sport.
After returning to the United States, Hamm joined the University of North Carolina (UNC) Women’s Soccer team. She led the team to four NCAA Championships in her undergraduate four years.
Her soccer career ended at the 2004 World Cup, where she scored a goal in each of her final six games. She later retired to focus on her family and her Mia Hamm Foundation charity.
Co-owner of two professional soccer teams
Mia Hamm is one of the most prominent soccer stars in history, and her achievements on the field have made her an iconic figure. She has won two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals and was the first woman to lead the United States women’s national soccer team. She also founded the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) and showed her Washington Freedom team to a championship in 2003.
Aside from her achievements in the field, Hamm is a prominent businesswoman. She has written books, made T.V. appearances, and advocated for women’s sports. She also became a co-owner of Los Angeles FC 2014, a club in Major League Soccer.
In addition to her work in the sports industry, Hamm is also involved in the charitable sector. She has launched a foundation that supports research for bone marrow cancer and donates funds to various other causes.
She played for the Wichita Falls Soccer Club in Texas as a teenager. She then played at the University of North Carolina, winning four NCAA titles and being a first-team all-American three times.
After her college career, she joined the U.S. national soccer team, and she became one of the best players on the planet. She won a record number of international matches and helped the U.S. win its first Olympic gold medal in Atlanta in 1996.
During the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she scored 108 goals in a single tournament, setting the record for most goals ever scored by an American player in an international competition. She held the record until June 2013, when Abby Wambach broke it.
Since she retired from professional soccer in 2004, Hamm has continued participating in the sport she loves. She wrote books, made T.V. appearances, and launched a charity foundation. She also became a co-owner of Los Angeles FC and Angel City F.C., a Women’s National Soccer League team.
Hamm has also partnered with fellow celebrities and athletes as co-owners, including Natalie Portman, Serena Williams, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, and Billie Jean King. She also owns a stake in LAFC, along with her husband and former MLB All-Star Nomar Garciaparra.
Author of Go for the Goal
Mariel Margaret “Mia” Hamm, born March 17, 1972, is an American soccer star whose cheetah-like acceleration and lightning-bolt shot helped her win the Women’s World Cup and Olympic gold medal. She was a founding member of the Washington Freedom, the first professional women’s soccer team in the United States. She remains the most prolific scorer in the history of international competition (158 goals).
In 1999 she co-wrote Go for the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life with Aaron Heifetz and established the Mia Hamm Foundation with a twofold mission of increasing sports opportunities for young women and supporting bone marrow transplant patients. Despite her achievements, she is still shy, self-critical, and modest.
During her career, she became an icon for soccer, earning numerous awards, including Player of the Year and a spot in the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Her popularity and skill with the Washington Freedom inspired thousands of girls to join the sport.
She retired from competitive soccer in 2004 at age 32 with 158 goals and 144 assists, setting a record for the highest number of goals scored by an active female soccer player. Her contributions to the sport also led to the formation of the first professional women’s soccer league in the United States, the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA).
The first-ever Women’s World Cup tournament was held in 1991, and she led her team to a bronze medal. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, she won her first women’s gold award by defeating China 2-1.
As a result, she has become an icon for women’s sports in general. In addition to her contributions to soccer, she founded the National Soccer Hall of Fame. She started the Mia Hamm Foundation to support bone marrow research in honor of her brother, Garrett, who died from complications of aplastic anemia.
She is a national bestselling author of a children’s fiction book, Winner Never Quits, and a business book called Go for the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life. Her work has been translated into several languages.