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Mariel Margaret Garciaparra (born on March 17, 1972, in ), best known as Mia Hamm, is a retired American soccer player. Hamm played many years as a forward for the United States women's national soccer team and was a founding member of the Washington Freedom. Hamm has scored more international goals in her career than any other player, male or female, in the history of soccer (158).

Hamm is an iconic symbol of women's sports and an inspiration and role model to a generation of sports-minded girls. As part of the first generation of women to grow up with gender equality rights after Title IX passed, she received the college scholarships, endorsements and training opportunities necessary to become a top athlete. She was named the women's FIFA World Player of the Year the first two times that award was given (in 2001 and 2002), and is listed as one of FIFAmarker's 125 best living players (as chosen by Pelé). Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon called Hamm, "Perhaps the most important athlete of the last 15 years."

She retired from the sport in 2004, when she played her last game in the 2004 Fan Celebration Tour to commemorate the U.S. women's national team's victory in the 2004 Olympics. In 2007, her first year of eligibility, she was selected for induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame by having 137 votes of the 141 ballots cast. Women's Professional Soccer, a professional soccer league that launched in 2009, features Hamm's silhouette in its logo.

Hamm was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on March 11, 2008.

She is the author of Go For the Goal: A Champion's Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life. She appeared in the HBO documentary Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team.

Early years

Mia was born with a club foot, and had to wear corrective shoes as a toddler. Hamm spent her childhood on Air Force bases with her parents, Bill and Stephanie Hamm, and her five siblings. The family moved many times and resided in several places including San Antonio, Texas, and Italy. Hamm played organized sports from a very young age, and at age fifteen she joined the U.S. women's national team, becoming the youngest ever to play for them. She played for Notre Dame Catholic High School, Wichita Fallsmarker, Texas, as a freshman and a sophomore. Hamm then attended Lake Braddock Secondary Schoolmarker in Burke, Vamarker. for one year, and helped the Lake Braddock soccer team win the 1989 state championships.

She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillmarker, where she helped the Tar Heels to four National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women's championships in five years (she sat out the season of 1991 to concentrate on the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup in China). North Carolina only lost one game in ninety five she played. She was an All-American and Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year for her last three years. She also won ACC Female Athlete of the Year in 1993 and 1994.

Women's national team

In 1991, when the women's national team won the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time, Hamm became the youngest American woman to win a World Cup championship at the age of nineteen.

She was also a member of the American National college team that played in the 1993 Summer Universiade and lost to China, obtaining the silver medal. She was the leading scorer with six goals. She graduated from college with the all-time records for her conference in goals with 103, assists with 72, and total points with 278.

On May 22, 1999, Hamm broke the all-time international goal record with her 109th goal in a game against Brazil in Orlando, Floridamarker.

Hamm takes a corner kick.

In 1999, Nikemarker named the largest building on their corporate campus after Hamm, and that same year she and the rest of the women on the national team became world champions again by winning the FIFA Women's World Cup. The final match surpassed the Atlanta Olympic final as the most-attended women's sports event, with over 90,000 filling the Rose Bowlmarker.

Hamm was named the 1997 Sportswoman of the Year (in the team category) by the Women's Sports Foundation. Also in 1997, Hamm began the Mia Hamm Foundation, dedicated to help with bone marrow research and to help women's sports programs progress. She was inspired to create her foundation by her adoptive brother and original athletic inspiration, Garrett, who died of aplastic anemia.

On May 14, 2004, she announced her retirement effective after the 2004 Athens Olympics, expressing an interest in starting a family with her husband, Nomar Garciaparra.

In March 2004, Hamm and former U.S. teammate Michelle Akers were the only two women, and the only two Americans, named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players selected by Pelé and commissioned by FIFAmarker for that organization's 100th anniversary.

In a friendly game against Australia on July 21, 2004, Hamm scored her 151st international goal; she has long held the record in that category for any player, male or female. This match also marked her 259th international appearance; only her teammate Kristine Lilly has played in more internationals.

She helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and was also chosen by her fellow U.S. Olympians to carry the American flag at the Athens Closing Ceremonies. After the Olympics, Hamm and her teammates went on a "farewell tour" of the United States, which finished on December 8, 2004 against Mexico at the Home Depot Centermarker in Carson, Californiamarker. In the game, which the U.S. won 5–0, Hamm assisted on two of the goals. Hamm is one of three longtime national team members who announced their retirements from international play at the end of the tour; the others are longtime captain Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett (Fawcett did not play due to back surgery after the Olympics). Hamm retired with 158 international goals at age thirty-two.

Personal life

Garrett Hamm, Mia's brother, had aplastic anemia, a rare blood disease. He died of complications from this disease on April 16, 1997. Mia established the Mia Hamm Foundation in part to support patients and their families who benefit from bone marrow transplants.

Hamm was first married on December 17, 1994, to her college sweetheart Christian Corry, a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot, but they divorced in 2001.

Hamm married then-Boston Red Sox shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra on November 22, 2003, in Goleta, Californiamarker in a private ceremony, attended by three hundred guests. On March 27, 2007, Hamm gave birth to twin girls, Grace Isabella and Ava Caroline. Though born five weeks early, each girl weighed over at birth. Twins run in both Hamm and Garciaparra's families.Mia Hamm has five sisters and brothers. One sister, Tiffany, is one of the assistant coaches for U12 Arlington Rowdies travel soccer team in Arlington, Virginia.


Year Team Championship/Medal
1989 UNC NCAA National Champion
1990 UNC NCAA National Champion
1991 USA women's national team FIFA World Cup Champion
1992 UNC NCAA National Champion
1993 UNC NCAA National Champion
1996 USA women's national team Olympic Gold
1999 USA women's national team FIFA World Cup Champion
2000 USA women's national team Olympic Silver
2003 Washington Freedom WUSA Founder's Cup Champion
2003 USA women's national team FIFA World Cup Third Place
2004 USA women's national team Olympic Gold


  1. Dave Zirin, What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States, 2005. Haymarket Books. ISBN 1-931859-20-5
  3. Women's Soccer History
  4. ESPNsoccernet - US - Hamm, Foudy retire in style
  5. ESPN - Hamm says she wants to focus on family - Olympics

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