First woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame, two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion
"Mia Hamm is a retired professional soccer player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion. Hailed as a soccer icon, she played as a forward for the United States women's national soccer team from 1987–2004. Hamm was the face of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), the first professional women's soccer league in the United States, where she played for the Washington Freedom from 2001–2003. She played college soccer for the North Carolina Tar Heels women's soccer team and helped the team win four consecutive NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship titles.
During her tenure with the national team, Hamm competed in four FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments: the inaugural 1991 in China, 1995 in Sweden, 1999 and 2003 in the United States. She led the team at three Olympic Games, including: 1996 in Atlanta (the first time women's soccer was played), 2000 in Sydney, and 2004 in Athens. She completed her international career having played in 42 matches and scored 14 goals at these 7 international tournaments.
Hamm held the record for most international goals scored—by a woman or man—until 2013 and remains in third place behind former teammate Abby Wambach and Canadian striker Christine Sinclair as of 2017. She currently ranks third in the history of the U.S. national team for international caps (276) and first for career assists (144). Twice named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, Hamm and her teammate Michelle Akers were hailed by Pelé as two of FIFA's 125 greatest living players when he included them in the FIFA 100 to celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary. Hamm was named U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year five years in a row and won three ESPY awards including Soccer Player of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year. The Women's Sports Foundation named her Sportswoman of the Year in 1997 and 1999. She was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame and was the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame…
During a friendly game against Australia on July 21, 2004, Hamm scored her 151st international goal setting the record for most international goals scored by any player in the world, male or female. She held the world record until Abby Wambach scored her 159th goal on June 20, 2013.
Hamm was named Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation in 1997 and 1999. In June 1999, Nike named the largest building on their corporate campus after Hamm. In December 2000, Hamm was named one of the top three female soccer players of the twentieth century in the FIFA Female Player of the Century Award, finishing behind only Sun Wen and compatriot Michelle Akers.
In March 2004, Hamm and former U.S. teammate Michelle Akers were the only two women and Americans named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players, selected by Pelé and commissioned by FIFA for the organization's 100th anniversary. Other accolades include being elected U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year five years in a row from 1994 to 1998, and winning three ESPY awards including Soccer Player of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year.
In 2006 Hamm was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, followed by the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on March 11, 2008. In 2007, during her first year of eligibility, Hamm was selected for induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. In 2008, an image of her silhouette was used in the logo for the second professional women's soccer league in the United States: Women's Professional Soccer. ESPN named her the greatest female athlete in 2012.
In 2013, Hamm became the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame, located in Pachuca, Mexico. She was named to U.S. Soccer's USWNT All-Time Best XI in December 2013. In 2014, Hamm was named one of ESPNW's Impact 25; she was also the recipient of the Golden Foot Legends Award." (1)