World Renowned Soccer Player
Mia Hamm, who is to women's soccer what Pele was to the men's game, has retired from competition, having inspired a generation of young girls while leading the United States to Olympic and World Cup titles.
On December 09, 2004, a game against Mexico in Carson City, California, provided the final stage for Hamm as she bowed out in front of a cheering crowd. Mia Hamm is widely recognized as the best all-around women's soccer player in the world and she retired as the most prolific scorer - male or female - in the history international soccer.
In Atlanta at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games she led her team to Team Gold in front of 80,000 screaming fans in Athens, Georgia. Never in history had so many spectators come out to watch a women's sporting event. The Games highlighted female athletes like no other time in modern history and Mia emerged as one of the Game's true examples for people of all ages who have a dream and go for it. The 1999 Women's World Cup, where the USA took home the championship in front of 40 million viewers in this country alone, sold over 650,000 tickets, including sellouts at Giants Stadium and the Rose Bowl. There is no stopping women's soccer and Mia's enormous impact, both on and off the field.
Having played collegiately at UNC and leading her team to four consecutive NCAA championships, she inherited the nickname "Jordan" (after a basketball player at NC named Michael!) because of her athletic ability on the field and sportsmanship, determination and commitment off it. Her awards and accomplishments only tell part of the story of this remarkable athlete; she gives much of her precious free time to charitable causes and strives, in anything she does, to promote women's athletics, the sport of soccer, and a feeling of confidence and sense of purpose in young people (male or female).
Mia was the youngest player ever to play for our National Team (age 15) and has been a member ever since (the team won the World Championships in 1991, Mia's second time on the team). Her records in appearances and goals, MVP awards and overall performance put her at the top of the sport as she looks forward to the 2004 Olympics (she has been US Soccer's Female Athlete of the year five consecutive years). As Phil Knight, Chairman of Nike says "I think we've had three athletes who just played at a level that added a new dimension to their games. That's been Michael Jordan, in basketball, and in some ways Mia Hamm in women's soccer and Tiger Woods in golf." In April of 1999, Nike named the largest building on its corporate campus after Mia.
Having seen the enormous support her and her teammates received at the '96 and '00 Games, Mia became a founding member of the Women's United Soccer Association and led the Washington Freedom to the Founder's Cup. Poised, articulate and honest, Mia is a pioneer in her sport and a role model for athletes and fans alike who believe in equal opportunity and the love of the game.
Mia’s brother died in 1997 from aplastic anemia, a bone-marrow disorder. Two years later, she founded the Mia Hamm Foundation, a national, non-profit organization to raise funds and awareness for bone marrow disease and provide athletic opportunities for young women. She has since authored a book, Go for the Goal: A Champion's Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life, which is also the title of her most requested speech. She dedicates much of her free time to charitable causes and motivational speaking.