Thursday, July 29, 2004 Updated: November 15, 9:35 AM ET
Feet of Gold
By Lisette Hilton Special to ESPN.com
Signature Game May 22, 1999 - A 3-0 victory against Brazil at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., was more than a big win for the U.S. national team. It was the night Mia Hamm created soccer history by scoring her 108th international goal as she became the world's leading goal scorer, breaking her tie with Italy's Elisabetta Vignotto's 107.
Hamm scored more goals (168) than any man or woman.
A sequence of one-touch passes began in the midfield. Hamm received a counterattack clearance from Michelle Akers and headed it to Kristine Lilly, who passed it to Cindy Parlow. Parlow made a perfect pass down the inside right channel for Hamm to chase. The 10,000-plus crowd erupted when Hamm, despite being marked by two defenders, booted a bullet from 10 yards out under Brazilian goalkeeper Didi's legs.
"I saw her out there [on the wing], got her the ball and just watched her work the magic," Parlow said.
In typical fashion, Hamm played down her role and focused on her teammates. "It was special to get the record on such a great team goal," she said.
Odds 'n' Ends
While she was born Mariel Margaret, she was nicknamed Mia by her mother after Stephanie's ballerina mentor, Mia Slavenska.
Hamm was 18 months old and wearing corrective shoes to treat club foot when her mother says her daughter "discovered" soccer. The story goes that Hamm saw a father and son kicking a soccer ball. She ran after them and booted the ball.
Playing junior high football for Notre Dame Catholic School in Wichita Falls, Texas, Hamm was a split end and defensive back.
A good student, Hamm took on heavy loads to graduate high school a year early.
During the week Hamm played her first game for the U.S., her grandfather and uncle were killed in a plane crash in 1987.
Her first goal for the U.S. came on July 25, 1990 against Norway.
North Carolina retired Hamm's No. 19 jersey in 1994.
She graduated from North Carolina with a degree in political science.
In 1994, Hamm tied with Akers as the second-leading goal scorer at the U.S. CONCACAF qualifying tournament, scoring six goals in three games.
A year later, despite the U.S. finishing second in the Women's World Cup in Sweden, she was the tournament's MVP after scoring three goals on long-range free kicks.
Against Denmark in the tournament, Hamm played several minutes at goalkeeper after starter Briana Scurry was ejected and the U.S. had used all its substitutes. Hamm did not allow a goal.
The 1996 Olympics gave Hamm, the team and women's soccer worldwide appeal - 76,489 people showed up in Athens, Ga., to see them beat China in the final.
In 1997, Hamm was named the Women's Sports Foundation Athlete of the Year and was named by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People.
In 1998, she won the ESPY Award for Outstanding Female Athlete.
At the 1998 Goodwill Games, Hamm scored five of the U.S. team's seven goals, including both scores in a 2-0 victory over China in the championship game.
Hamm became the third player to reach 100 international goals, scoring against Russia in a 4-0 victory on Sept. 18, 1998, in Rochester, N.Y.
On Jan. 30, 1999, she passed teammate Akers (102 career goals) when she scored against Portugal.
In the 1999 Women's World Cup, Hamm scored two goals and had two assists in six games.
The Mia Hamm Foundation, founded in 1999, is dedicated to help fund bone-marrow research and promote girls' participation in sports.
Hamm made the WUSA's maximum salary ($85,000) playing for Washington in 2001.
The Freedom lost in the WUSA's championship game in 2002, dropping a 3-2 decision to Carolina. Hamm scored Washington's second goal.
She scored the winning "golden goal" in the USA's 2-1 overtime win over Canada in the 2002 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup final.
She was named MVP of the 2002 Nike U.S. Women's Cup.
In May 2003, Hamm served as a guest host for the Today Show.
At the 2004 Olympics, Hamm's pass set up the game-winning goal in overtime for the U.S. in a 2-1 victory over Germany.
In 37 Olympic and World Cup matches, Hamm scored 13 goals.
In 2003, Hamm appeared on the September cover of Sports Illustrated and finished second in FIFA Women's Player of the Year voting after winning the award the previous two years.
Hamm's image and name have been tied to a litany of brands, including Nike, Gatorade, MasterCard, Chevrolet, Powerbar, Dreyer's, Edy's Frozen Yogurt, FleetBank and Mattel (she endorsed its Soccer Barbie).
Hamm's hobbies include golf, basketball, reading and cooking.