Mia Hamm

September 30, 2011
By Anonymous

Everyone has a famous person they look up to, an athlete, a singer, someone who they feel they can relate to. However the rich and famous these days are not always people whose footsteps we should retrace. They always seem to be getting into trouble. Lucky for girls soccer players, they will all have a role model, defined not only by skill, but by heart. Mia Hamm’s story is full of hard work, determination, and passion.

Mia Hamm was born on March 17th, 1972 in Selma, Alabama. Her real name is Mariel Margaret, but she is known across the world as Mia. As a young girl with older brothers, she found it most satisfying to spend the day playing sports. This was one factor that led to her above-average skill in not only soccer, but also baseball, hockey, and basketball. She was introduced to soccer when her family lived in Italy for some time when she was about 6 years old. With soccer being as important as it is to the Italian’s, Mia soon acquired a similar love for the sport.

She began playing for the first time when she was 7 years old in Texas. Mia’s athletic nature and determination to be the best led her to become the youngest player to ever be on the United States National Team. She was only 15 at the time, and living with her uncle in northern Virginia. Mia did not receive a lot of playing time in her first 2 years on the squad but she claims the training was vigorous and crucial to her development as a player.

After years of just training, when she was 17 Mia scored her first national goal in a game against Canada. Little did she know this would be the first of over 100 goals she would score in her national career.

It was an obvious decision when Mia was asked to come to the University of North Carolina, the college with the best women’s soccer program in America. During her college years, she lead the Tar Heels to 4 straight national championships.

In 1991, the first ever women’s World Cup was to take place. Mia and her teammates were eager for the opportunity to compete on an international level. The United States, won games against Sweden, Brazil, Japan, China, and Germany in the first women’s World Cup. They went on to become champions of the world after defeating Norway in the finals.

Upon returning to UNC, Mia was given the nickname “Jordan” after another famous UNC graduate that went on to fame in the world of sports...Michael Jordan. After graduating, Mia put her full efforts into the National team. Although the US was not able to clinch back to back World Cup titles, Mia Hamm was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 1995 World Cup. A year later Mia and the national team went on to win the 1996 Olympics after defeating Nigeria, Korea, Denmark, Germany, Brazil, and China.

Mia’s career ended in 2004 after the Olympics. She now lives with her husband, Nomar Garciaparra and their twin daughters, Grace and Ava. Mia also serves as the global ambassador for a professional soccer team in Spain known as FC Barcelona. Mia has also written a few books, one of her most well known the auto-biography Go for the Goal. She also founded the Mia Hamm Foundation, which helps raise funds and awareness of the rare blood disease that killed her brother Garrett.

Mia Hamm is one celebrity whose skill and integrity are both commendable. Her story is even more incredible because of how far she came to become this star. She started in a small town in Texas and finished her career with the status of one of the best female soccer players in the world. Her respectable manner in handling fame also proves the depth of character in Mia Hamm. A few quotes of hers include, “Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle for them,” and “The backbone of successful is....hard work, determination, good planning, and perseverance,” and “Celebrate what you have accomplished but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” All of these quotes not only relate to soccer and sports, but to life, too. Mia Hamm is an athlete worth remembering not only because of her career as a sportsperson, but her journey before and after her time as a world famous soccer player.

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