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Sports Spotlight: Mia Hamm

Soccer great inducted into Hall of Fame

By Michael Lewis | null null , null
Soccer pro Mia Hamm at the Athens Summer Games in 2004. (Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)<br />
Soccer pro Mia Hamm at the Athens Summer Games in 2004. (Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Mia Hamm and her 5-month-old twins were in Oneonta, New York, recently for her induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Hamm, along with former U.S. national teammate Julie Foudy, former U.S. Soccer president Alan Rothenberg, and ex-Cosmos defender Bob Smith were inducted on Sunday, August 26, 2007.

"At the beginning of my career it wasn't one of those things, a goal of mine, to be elected," Hamm said. "It's very humbling, very special."

Hamm was elected with the largest number of votes in the Hall of Fame’s history. She was selected on 137 of the 141 ballots. As a player, she is credited with pioneering the sport of women’s soccer in the U.S. She scored 158 points in international competitions, more than any other player in history. She was instrumental in helping the U.S. team win World Cup victories in 1991 and 1999. She also helped lead her team to Gold Medal victories at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games.

SOCCER STAR TO SOCCER MOM

The transition from 17 years as a star soccer player to lifetime of “Soccer Mom” wasn't that difficult, said Hamm, who laughed when a reporter brought it up. And, she has no regrets.

"I was very fortunate to be able to do it [play soccer] for as long as I did,” said Hamm, who, at 15, was the youngest player ever accepted to the U.S. National Team.

So, now that she doesn't have to worry about keeping in tip-top shape to play against the best soccer teams in the world, Mia Hamm gets plenty of rest, right?

Wrong.

Twin daughters Grace and Ava might be keeping the 35-year-old Hamm on her toes more than former German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg.

Hamm admitted she doesn't get much sleep these days.

"But that's OK," she said with a laugh.

So, do the twins do things in unison?

"It’s more like a tag team right now," she said. "I think they're communicating with each other and they're just laughing on the inside, watching me try to do this. But I have a lot of help, which is great."

HUMBLE PLAYER

Hamm made her family part of the induction ceremony. She talked about her husband Nomar Garciaparra, who plays third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as her children.

But first she praised her fans. "You guys are the best," she said. "To pull into a stadium to see your faces painted, I was so proud of that. Every time I took the field, I was playing for you guys."

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