When Mia Hamm was 24, She Was Playing Soccer at the Olympics

I’ve worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down and I will not let myself down.

If you grew up in the 90s, Mia Hamm was a household name. Like this week’s Featured Muse, Breada Farrell, Hamm was an athlete at UNC-Chapel Hill. Also like Breada, at 24, she was representing her country on the international stage.

Hamm’s soccer history seems to be a long list of inspiring wins. She began playing soccer when she was very young, and quickly established herself as a leader on the field and off. She joined the US women’s national team in 1987, at 15 years old, making her the youngest woman to ever play on the team. Flash forward to college. While attending UNC-CH from 1989-1993, she helped the Tar Heels win four NCAA women’s championships (for four of the five years she attended). She’s also a two-time winner of the prestigious ACC Female Player of the Year award.

In 1991, at 19 years old, while still a student at Carolina, Hamm also helped the US Women’s team win the FIFA World Cup. Just four years later, she also helped win the 1995 FIFA World Cup, solidifying her status as one of the most dominant players in the game. By 24 years old, Hamm was playing for the US women’s team in the 1996 Summer Olympics – and helping them bring home the gold. All of these wins add up to mean that Hamm is one the world’s most decorated and beloved athletes – in any sport.

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Today, Hamm is an award-winning author and an active philanthropist. She is also a leader in the world of women’s soccer, providing support, expertise and direction to various professional organizations.

Most of all, she’s an inspiration to people everywhere that determination and drive can lead to success at any age, and that grace and integrity are truly timeless.

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