Mia Hamm might never say it, but it’s hard to find a player who has had a greater impact on women’s soccer than herself.
Hamm first made history in 1987. At 15 years old, she was the youngest player to ever suit up for the United States women’s national team. In 276 appearances, she had 158 international goals.
Over the course of Hamm’s run with the USWNT, she was a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Even though Hamm’s playing days are over, she continues to make an impact. Not only is she a co-owner of LAFC and Angel City, she is doing her best to help out her community through the Mia Hamm Foundation.
Additionally, Hamm is teaming up with GoGo squeeZ, the official fruit snack of the U.s. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams.
We caught up with Mia Hamm to discuss her incredible career, thoughts on the current state of women’s soccer in the United States, her partnership with GoGo squeeZ and more.
The Spun: Can you tell us about your partnership with GoGo squeeZ?
Mia Hamm: They reached out to us, and I saw they were the official fruit snack of US Soccer. Being a mom, they asked if this was a product I even use. I was like, ‘It’s funny you should ask because this goes in my son’s lunch everyday.’ This is just so easy and consistent, and as a mom, this gives me the assurance that he’s getting some fruits in his diet when I can’t see him. For me, knowing that GoGo squeeZ wants to celebrate the everyday wins that go unnoticed makes it a special partnership. Being healthy and active is a big part of our lives as a family.
The Spun: Is the healthy aspect of GoGo squeeZ what stood out to you?
MH: Yeah, but also knowing it’s part of our lives gives this connection authenticity behind it. I give it to my own kids. It was an easy decision to join them because it’s part of what we do as a family.
The Spun: What's in the works for the Mia Hamm Foundation?
MH: We do a golf tournament with the Mia Hamm Foundation at the University of North Carolina so we can give back to the community. We give out grants every year to different groups and programs all over the country. Another thing we do is we try to do a bone marrow drive. It’s been hard during the COVID-19 pandemic though. Getting college students to think about registering and how simple it is to register is important. I’m part of the ownership group in Los Angeles with LAFC in the MLS and Angel City in the NWSL. I still do camps and clinics with two of my former teammates. That’s fun for me because we get to share the love of the game with so many. My kids are also a huge part of my life. Seeing my daughters navigate through high school has been a fun adventure.
The Spun: If you ask the current generation of women's soccer players who inspired them, a lot of them say it was Mia Hamm. What does that mean to you?
MH: It means a lot. The opportunity to play the game I loved at a high level was something I didn’t have aspirations of when I was 7 years old. As I grew up though, the game continued to grow. I knew the importance of leaving the game better and more accessible than I found it. It was important to all of us to make sure the next generation can follow their dreams. You have a finite amount of time to play, so you want to do your best to enjoy that journey. But you definitely want to make sure you do what needs to be done to ensure other women have the chance to experience it as well.
The Spun: Two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles. Which of the four victories was your favorite?
MH: It’s hard because each moment had a different impact from a team perspective and individual perspective. I look at the ’96 Olympics because growing up there wasn’t a Women’s World Cup. I just wanted to be in the Olympics, I didn’t care what it was. To compete in the Olympics in your home country was unbelievable. But then you look at the ’99 World Cup and you realize it has changed the landscape for women’s sports. Look at the Women’s Euro Cup - the final is a sellout with two amazing teams. The coverage of our sport has been amazing. I truly believe the tournament in 1999 was the stepping stone for all that you’re seeing right now.
The Spun: Are there any current players on the USWNT that have caught your attention?
MH: I think what you see right now is so much talent and creativity on the field. All these players are just owning it, and that’s what I love to see. This generation is unapologetic about wanting to be who they are, playing great soccer and winning. I love watching Lindsey Horan play. A lot goes unnoticed, but she is so good. Seeing the way Mallory Pugh is playing right now, especially if you consider the pressure she was under coming out of high school, has been a lot of fun. You see her creativity out there. Sophia Smith, Sofia Huerta, there’s just so much talent out there right now. I think the game is in such a great place.
The Spun: You were inducted into the the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame. What was that moment like?
MH: It was unexpected and amazing. First of all, to be thought of is just special. But then to get in with a class that included Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn, Michelle Kwan, the 2002 Paralympic Sled Hockey Team was amazing. And what made it even better is that I was able to bring my daughters and have them share that experience with me. It was so special.
The Spun: Who would be on your Mount Rushmore of US women’s soccer players?
MH: Michelle Akers, no doubt. I’d have to put Kristine Lilly. She’s the most-capped player in the universe and arguably the most versatile one to ever play for the women’s national team. Oh gosh, there are so many good ones. I’d have to put Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd. If I get another member to include, I’d have to put Carla Overbeck. What she did for our team was incredible.
Though she didn’t include herself in her Mount Rushmore of USWNT players, Mia Hamm is near the top of most current players’ lists.
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