“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.”

—Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm was born March 17, 1972, in Selma, Ala. Surprisingly, the soccer champion—named women’s FIFA World Player of the year in 2001 and 2002, and listed as one of FIFA’s 125 best living players (as chosen by Pelé)—was born with a club foot and had to wear corrective shoes as a small child.

These challenges didn’t stop her, however. She has noted, “If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion,” and clearly, she loved playing sports. She was athletic throughout her childhood and, by age 15, became the youngest player ever to join the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. In 1991, when the team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time, 19-year-old Hamm became the youngest American woman to win a World Cup championship.

Afterward, Hamm continued her education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her team won four NCAA championships and lost just one game out of the 95 she played. Recognizing her role, the team named her Female Athlete of the Year in 1993 and 1994. Hamm brushed off praise for her individual success, saying, “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.”

On May 22, 1999, Hamm broke the all-time international goal record with her 108th goal in a game against Brazil. She said of her work to achieve that goal, “I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.”

Like any player, Hamm has experienced setbacks, but she takes a philosophical approach. “Failure happens all the time,” she has said. “It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.”

Of course, Hamm grew accustomed to great success during her career. The capstone was the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, when she helped lead Team USA to a gold medal, and her fellow U.S. Olympians chose her to carry the American flag at the Athens Closing Ceremonies. Hamm retired in 2004, at age 32, with 158 international goals—still the international record for men or women players.

Passion. Pass It On!

This billboard about Passion features Mia Hamm; athlete, soccer player, Olympic Medalist.

Pass It On®

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Your Comments
Anonymous MAY 19, 2022
Such an inspiration! Ive been thinking about playing travel soccer because I love it so much and I think if I put enough passion into this sport I could be great like her :)

Violetta from Detroit, Michigan MAY 10, 2021
When I look at the american flag at one of the stars I see soccer players from the past Mia Hamm is in it!

Carlo Leonel Sifuentes from Houston Texas APRIL 28, 2021
She is such an incredible player, she was executing her game plan in the league.

lauren from wheaton SEPTEMBER 18, 2020
such an amazing person and player

no one from no where JANUARY 10, 2019
Mia you are amazing

Anonymous  MARCH 13, 2018
Your so inspiring to all the soccer players out there. You go girl!

Mailyn from hurden looker school FEBRUARY 28, 2018
Mia you go girl you are so inspiring to me and now I love soccer even more than I did before because I love to play soccer

Mailyn from School FEBRUARY 28, 2018
Mia is so inspiring Can she adopt me I love to play soccer

Logan Taylor from no where  FEBRUARY 5, 2018
this story is very inspiring and motivated me

Anonymous OCTOBER 17, 2017
You are so amazing to me & inspartional

Aubrey from MD OCTOBER 11, 2017
Doing a project on her, truly an inspiration

Muffincat from The king of muffins MARCH 23, 2017
Wow what a inspirational person!

Ella from Gehr OCTOBER 18, 2016
Mia Hamm is why i started soccer love you mia!!!

Katelyn from Troup,tx OCTOBER 11, 2016
Thank you mia hamm you inspire me even when I think I can't do it..!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brady from STALKER SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

why do u need to know my name SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
she is great and hi

Roquel from Toronto MARCH 16, 2016
She is plain awesome

makayla MARCH 1, 2016

Alayna from Hopkins, MI FEBRUARY 17, 2016
I never knew she had a club foot! I love her even more!

Kara from Hopkins, MI FEBRUARY 3, 2016
Mia Hamm is the most hard-working woman I've ever seen. The pressure she puts on the field is amazing. Soccer became great because of her!!

caleb JANUARY 26, 2016
Mia Hamm is so awsome because she keeps on working hard.

Madison Christler from cody wy JANUARY 14, 2016
Mia Hamm,your such a great player. You have inspired me to be come a better soccer player. And I love ur Quotes

Nothing JANUARY 12, 2016

Isaiah from Melbourne DECEMBER 4, 2015
Yo this is cool

layla DECEMBER 2, 2015
it goes to show if you love something so much, you can become successful in it!!

layla from toronto DECEMBER 2, 2015
such a great story... my dream would to be as successful as her

Olivia NOVEMBER 17, 2015
She really inspires me

Olivia NOVEMBER 17, 2015
I think this is amazing because I play soccer and maybe I can be like her when I am older

Trinton Reeves OCTOBER 13, 2015
Be honest!

Barbie from 90210 SEPTEMBER 28, 2015
She really inspires me

NULL from NULL MAY 27, 2015
My Personal Favorite of the Pass It On billboards

NULL from NULL OCTOBER 8, 2014
let love into your heart don't let hate it your heart

Ms. Kimberly Davis from Ocala, Fl. SEPTEMBER 8, 2014
If we are passionate in every aspect of life we are fulfilling a great purpose!

Armando from Hermosillo SEPTEMBER 1, 2014
If you want it you can get it

madi from naperville APRIL 7, 2014
i love soccer so ya

jose from california MARCH 20, 2014
she is really cool

Lora from home MARCH 2, 2014
passion in and for life is what we live for. without it we can feel lost.

abby from 61first street SEPTEMBER 12, 2013
I love you

audri from los al, CA MAY 1, 2012
I love Mia, she is so passionate and love's to play the game. I love the game as much as she does, but she probably love's it alittle more. She is my hero, and I will allways love her and her determaination. She is amazing. One of her favorite goals was To Be The Best, and she did exactly that.

Steven Taylor from Coldwater P.S  FEBRUARY 1, 2012
She is awsome I have followed her since she started playing.

George Amir from Scarboro, Ont JANUARY 18, 2012
Only People with fire can deliver the fire so is passion...Mia's life was one ...Hats Off to Mia ....God Bless you

Laura Carter from North Carolina DECEMBER 13, 2011
I pass Mia's sign on my way to work every morning, and that photo ALWAYS makes me smile. I'm a runner and I've just lost nearly 50 lbs. I find it so inspirational - many runs I find myself thinking "kicked her way to the top" over and over, especially on hills (which I admit to hating with a passion). That photo of Mia - it's so blatantly joyous and it's so inspirational.

rachel from school NOVEMBER 17, 2011
I like this cause it shows people that they shouldnt ever give up

erica mease from omaha,Ne NOVEMBER 16, 2011
she is cool.

banania from ohio NE NOVEMBER 16, 2011
i like this statement because it tells a lot about her and how she helped us

Trae'Von thompson from omaha,Ne NOVEMBER 16, 2011
she is a really good person

Adu Joseph from Lagos Nigeria JULY 30, 2011
She is phenomenal and my heroine. She is so passionate about the game.

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