Kelsey Williams Period 3 Gym 15 October 2012 Mia Hamm Mariel Margaret Hamm, otherwise known as Mia Hamm, was born in Selma, Alabama on March 17th, 1972. Mia Hamm’s brother recalls that she was extremely athletic even back then and that she would often compete with the other boys on the block in childhood games, often winning them. But earlier on, Mia Hamm had some problems with her legs, she was born with a partial clubfoot. This meant that she had to wear casts on her feet to correct this problem.
Fortunately, the casts had a visible effect and Mia Hamm would soon fully recover. Throughout Mia Hamm’s childhood, she had to move a lot, because her father was in the Air Force. Once, her and her family went to Italy and it is there that Mia saw exactly what soccer is about. The Italians’ passion for soccer triggered an interest in soccer, when she was just 6 years old. After moving to Texas, she immediately picked up the sport and started playing for a local women’s soccer youth club. |
Unlike most other players that have to go through certain steps during their childhood, Mia Hamm’s career had a jump start at a very early age. With Mia dominating the youth competitions of women’s soccer in Texas, it was only natural that she ended up in the spotlight of the United States national team staff. However, at age 14, she wasn’t ready for that big of a leap, yet. One of the less known facts about Mia Hamm is that she also enjoyed watching and playing football. This helped her later on in her soccer career, increasing her strength, structure and aggressive spirit.
Mia Hamm Lake Braddock
Age 15, Mia Hamm moved to northern Virginia, where she would attend the Lake Braddock Secondary school; living with her uncle. She kept on playing soccer and one day, an impressive phone call got the young girl cheering throughout the house. She was called for the senior United States women’s soccer team, becoming the youngest player in history to play on it. Fortunately, she did have a good constitution that allowed her to physically survive the difficulties of senior professional soccer at that level.
Although she would not play much during her first few years on the team, those times were extremely important in her adaptation process. By the time Mia was seventeen, she already felt right at home on the United States squad and managed to score her first goal for the team, in a match against Canada. After finishing high school, Mia Hamm was already on her way to success, now constantly being called up to the national team. She started playing regularly. However, she chose to follow a University as well; the University of North Carolina.
She began playing for the University of North Carolina’s women soccer team, the Tar Heels, and lead them to a string of four straight national titles, in addition to being the team and the league’s all-time top scorer. | In 1991, she put her time with the University of North Carolina on hold. She was being called for her first World Cup, held in China. The United States team was put in a tough group against Brazil, Japan and Sweden. In their first match against Sweden, Mia Hamm managed a crucial 62 minute goal, and the USA team won 3-2. She had scored the winning goal.
Their next match, against Brazil saw a wild United States Team with Mia Hamm as the MVP of the match, beating Brazil 5-0. In the last group match, against Japan, the United States women’s soccer team beat Japan, 3-0. Coming back to the UNC, Mia Hamm was greeted as a hero and was soon given the nickname “Jordan”, as a reference to another North Carolina athlete of international fame, Michael Jordan. By that time, Mia Hamm, a soccer player that started out in a small Texas youth club, was already a World Champion at age twenty and had a wonderful career in front of her.
When she finished studying at the University, Hamm focused merely on the US national squad, participating in the 1995 World Cup, where the United States ended up third. A moment bound to be remembered from that World Cup was when Mia Hamm went on to play as a goalkeeper, with no one left to play on this position. Despite the United States losing the title and the final, Mia Hamm was voted the Most Valuable Player of the World Cup. One year later, at the 1996 Olympic Games, Mia suffered an ankle injury that kept her off the field for a match, but she was able to recover for the final game, played against China.
Hamm contributed decisively to the winning goal, her shot coming off the bar, only to be plunged back in the net by Shannon MacMillan. The United States had gotten another gold medal. Months before the World Cup started, Mia Hamm had already broken the record for most international goals scored by a male or female soccer player, hitting the net for the 108th time in a match against Brazil. Mia Hamm’s seventeen years with the United States squad brought her a lot of trophies and success.
This included two World Cups, two World Cup bronze medals, two Olympic gold medals, and a silver medal. Mia Hamm also won the FIFA Women’s Soccer Player of the Year twice, in 2001 and 2002. She currently holds the record for most international goals scored by a player, male or female, with an impressive amount of 158 goals. Mia was one of the only 2 women named on Pele’s “125 Best Soccer Players of All Times”, next to USA national team colleague, Michelle Akers. Mia retired from soccer in 2004 at the age of 32, to start a family.