Throwback Friday: Looking Back at the Legendary Career of Mia Hamm


Jan 7, 2013; Newtown, CT, USA; US soccer legend Mia Hamm poses for a photo with Newtown , CT high school player Alissa Ruefenacht while participating in soccer games and activities at the Newtown Youth Academy Sports & Fitness Center. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Before she became the greatest women’s soccer player of all time and the face of the sport for a entire generation, Mia Hamm was in Chapel Hill helping the Lady Tar Heels soccer team, under head coach Anson Dorrance. While their, she helped the Tar Heels soccer program become one of the most successful and dominant programs in all of college sports.

The legend played for the Tar Heels from 1989-1993 over that span they went 94-1-2, winning 4 national championships. Hamm’s years with the team are often referred to as the program’s “golden age”.

Mia Hamm arrived at North Carolina in the fall of 1989 as a 17-year old phenomenon, two years after her first stint on the U.S. Women’s National Team. At 15 years old, she was the youngest player to ever play for the national team. In her first two seasons at UNC, the star forward scored a total of 44 goals while winning ACC Player of the Year her sophomore season.

She would redshirt the 1991 season after being selected to play for the national team in the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in China. Playing for her college coach Anson Dorrance, Hamm would score the winning goal in the team’s 3-2 victory in their opening match against Sweden and would help the U.S. win the World Cup.

She returned to Chapel Hill for the 1992 season and completely dominated her competition. Hamm would lead the nation in scoring, as she had 32 goals, 33 assists and 97 total points that season leading the team to a perfect 25-0 record, which included a 9-1 rout of rival Duke in the national title game. She would also win the first of two Hermann trophies giving to the top college soccer player in the country. She was even so dominant that her teammates gave her the nickname “Jordan” named after another Tar Heel icon.

In her final season at Carolina, Hamm scored 26 points, 16 assists and a total of 68 points winning her 3rd ACC Player of the Year. That year she would also win ACC Female Athlete of the Year and the Honda Broderick Award, which is annually giving to the nation’s top female college athlete. She left Carolina has the ACC all-time leader in goals with 103, assists with 72 and total points with 278. Her #19 was retired shortly after her career ended.

After leaving North Carolina, Mia Hamm went on to have one of the greatest careers in the history of the sport; a career so great that the largest building in the Nike headquarters is named after her. She was the face of the memorable 1999 World Cup team and when she retired in 2004 she had scored the most international goals by any player man or woman with 158 goals.

In March of the same year, Hamm along with U.S. teammate Michelle Akers would be the only Americans and the only women named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players selected by the greatest player of all-time- Pele. As to be expected Hamm is member of numerous Hall of Fames including the National Soccer Hall of Fame, which she was selected to in 2007 in her first year of being eligible.

Last year, she became the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame in Mexico. Mia Hamm’s career and legacy that will be remembered forever, she help lift her sport to heights it has never seen before here in the U.S and possibly never again. It is because of these many reasons that many people consider her to be one of the most important and influential athletes of the last 25 years.