mia-hamm-2“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.”

– Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm playing for the U.S. Women's National Team

Mia Hamm playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team

I have played soccer since I was five years old; it has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a child I’ve idolized professional the men’s soccer players that I’ve seen on television: Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Buffon, Antoine Griezmann, and many more. however, I have been especially inspired by the few female players that are given an opportunity to be in the spotlight. Mia Hamm is one of the most influential female soccer players of all time. Her passion and successes have encouraged me to become a better soccer player and teammate. At the age of fifteen, she became the youngest player to ever play on a U.S. national soccer team. During her 17 years on the U.S. women’s national soccer team, Hamm won the Women’s World Cup in 1991 and 1999 and won Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004. She also held the record for most international goals scored by any player until June 2013.

Mia Hamm working with young female soccer players through her foundation

Mia Hamm working with young female soccer players through her foundation

Mia Hamm will be remembered for increasing awareness for female athletes and encouraging young girls to pursue their passions in sports. In 1999, Mia Hamm founded the Mia Hamm foundation, which is dedicated to developing increased opportunities for young women to participate in sports. In 1996, Mia Hamm lost her brother to a rare blood disease called aplastic anemia. This tragedy severely impacted her life, and ultimately led to her creating the Mia Hamm Foundation which, along with supporting female athletes, promotes awareness and raises funds for families in need of bone marrow or cord blood transplants. Through her foundation, Mia Hamm shows us that she wants young women to have equal opportunity in sports and fears that girls will not have the opportunity to pursue their passions. She also shows us that she wants to help families with people who are suffering from blood related diseases and fears that other people will have to go through the grief that she did when her brother passed away. Although many people have heard of Mia Hamm, very few understand the extent of the impact that she has had on the culture of Western sports. As one of the most decorated female athletes of the century, Mia Hamm is the quintessential example of a strong, eminent woman fighting against prejudice to not only succeed but also to inspire others to do so as well.

Mia Hamm hosting her annual Celebrity Soccer Challenge charity exhibition game to raise money for her foundation

Mia Hamm hosting her annual Celebrity Soccer Challenge charity exhibition game to raise money for her foundation

Mia Hamm and I share many qualities other than our first name. Along with our passion and interest in soccer, we are both very driven people who strive for excellence in whatever we do. Mia Hamm also has immense humility, despite her many accomplishments, and doesn’t like to talk about her successes, which is a trait that I share with her. Mia Hamm exemplifies many of my own personal goals in TALONS. Her determination to go against societal norms and expectations by choosing a career as a female athlete represents my goal to pursue my creative and unique passions as an autonomous learner rather

Mia Hamm and her brother, Garret

Mia Hamm and her brother, Garret

than just simply the grade 10 curriculum. Although Mia Hamm and I share many of the same passions and interests, her young life was significantly impacted by the death of her brother. I have never experienced such personal grief, so I will address this barrier in my speech I will be sure to use the information from the book that Hamm wrote to get insight into her emotions and experiences surrounding this tragic event.