Chat with Mia Hamm
Hamm and 11 other athletes have forged together to create their own charity organization - Athletes for Hope. The goal of the organization is to ''educate, encourage and assist athletes in their efforts to contribute to community and charitable causes, to increase public awareness of those efforts and to inspire others to do the same.''
The other athletes that Hamm teamed up with to create Athletes for Hope are: Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Jeff Gordon, Tony Hawk, Sister Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr.
In her career, Hamm won nine championships - 4 collegiate, 4 international and one in the now defunct WUSA. Her four world titles include two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles. She also owns an Olympic silver medal and two third-place finishes in the World Cup.
Hamm holds the record for the most international goals scored by either a man or woman, with 158. She also ranks among the leaders in international appearances with over 250. The 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece was one of her last appearances and she was elected to be the first soccer player to carry the U.S. flag for the closing ceremonies.
In 2003 Hamm made news of a different variety when she wed baseball star Nomar Garciaparra. She recently gave birth to the couple's first children - a pair of twins.
Send in your questions now, then join Hamm on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (12:32 PM)
We're getting Mia Hamm right now. Send in those questions!
Steve (San Diego)
How did you first hear about Athletes for Hope? What kind of things will you be doing in relation to the organization?
Mia Hamm (12:37 PM)
It was a collaboration of my foundation and Andre Agassi's and Lance Armstrong. It's an idea of how we can use our celebrity and our influence with the other founding members. There are so many athletes out there and how we can give back. We're creating a system where other athletes can get involved. We'll be educating them and celebrating them. There are so many athletes that do so many things. Whatever these athletes can do in their local communities we should celebrate them.
Nick (Boise, Idaho)
It looks like you are getting involved in a couple of charities like 9-5 and Athletes for Hope. What are the plans for the Mia Foundation?
Mia Hamm (12:38 PM)
Well, it fits great. One of the things that we talked about was this wonderful mentoring system. But I'm sitting across the table from Lance Armstrong, who's raised millions of dollars. I've learned so much from all the founding members. To learn from them is extremely important. We always have a golf tournament, which we'll have in Chapel Hill. I'm really excited about the potential and the opportunity. Athletes for Hope just creates another opportunity and a networking of people and charities who want to be involved.
How do you feel about the Women's draw for the World Cup; especially that of North Korea being placed in Pool B to avoid China?
Mia Hamm (12:40 PM)
I think it is probably one of the toughest groups. I read a quote from Lilly, who said it's the World Cup. You don't expect any easy games. You expect to compete. Your goal is to be world champions. You want that challenge. You want their best players to be healthy. That's why you train to play the best at their best. I think they'll make us extremely proud.
Angie (Austin, TX)
Mia, Being a coach of a girls little league soccer team, besides fundamentals, what advice would you have for the girls? Thanks, Angie
Mia Hamm (12:41 PM)
I think everyone talks about having fun, but it still is important. Everyone has so much stress in their lives, it's important to have fun. And to stress their individual strengths. Some have speed others don't.
What do you think the future holds for womens soccer in the U.S.?
Mia Hamm (12:42 PM)
I know we just had a press release a couple of months ago that said there are six potential owners for a women's professional league. So we're going to bring back the league, which I think is exciting. It does so much for the women. I'm so grateful for the owners and sponsors that are getting behind this. Along with that and the growth of the women's game. I think women's soccer is in a very good place right now.
What can I do as part of athletes for hope? you've been a huge inspiration to me over your career and i would like to do what I can in return.
Mia Hamm (12:43 PM)
Well, one of the things I would say is go to AthletesForHope.org and you can get information on how you can help through them as well as your local communities.
Can Nomar play soccer?
Mia Hamm (12:44 PM)
Yes he can. He doesn't much any more. He played growing up.
Mia Hamm (12:44 PM)
Now we just juggle children.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Aloha Mia. Congratulations on being selected for induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame and on becoming a mother. How are the twins doing?
Mia Hamm (12:45 PM)
First of all, thank you so much. It's a great honor. Being a mom, gosh, is definitely the greatest thing that I've ever been able to do in my life. The twins are doing great. They've been home a week. Just learning to juggle all of that. I have one right here with me now.
What are the issues that are most dear to you? Is it nice to be retired and have the chance to focus on family and things like that?
Mia Hamm (12:46 PM)
First, it is really wonderful to be able to reconnect with my family. Having kids of my own, they become at this age all of your focus. My family has been a tremendous support for me my entire life. It's nice for me to get back into their lives. I have neices and nephews and brothers and sisters. It's nice to be a part of their lives again.
Mia Hamm (12:47 PM)
Through my foundation, I've been able to attack some of the issues that are important to me. We've been able to empower women. For me, it was through sports. I met and continue to meet wonderful people that invested in me and changed my life. The importance to me of giving back. Now having kids, setting a great example to them. There will always be people in need of help. I think it's our responsibility to give back.
How do you and Nomar feel about Boston? I think that whole situation was mishandled and I just wanted to let the two of you know that Boston still absolutely LOVES Nomar. He got a raw deal.
Mia Hamm (12:49 PM)
Thank you. I know we loved being there. I came at the end of his career in Boston. Nomar loved playing there. He loved the fans. He loved the atmosphere. We still have so many wonderful friends in Boston. They were some of the greatest fans in the world. We were so greatful for the support and the care for the people in that community that took to his cause and his foundation.
Have you ever met Muhammad Ali? If not, will you get the chance as part of Athletes for Hope?
Mia Hamm (12:50 PM)
I have met him briefly. There was one where there were a bunch of us. I wasn't in New York, because I was in LA because of the twins. To have him be a part of it all is instant credibility. Considering the charitable things that he continues to do every single day. He is the greatest. He lights up the room every time he walks in.
Chris ( North Haven, CT)
My girlfriend is currently playing on the U-21 NT and has been with the full team. Do you think the youth teams are doing enough to prepare the girls for the full team?
Mia Hamm (12:52 PM)
I know that US Soccer has stressed getting them ready. I know they balance between the youth national teams and the college teams. I think the college teams with education and the training you get is extremely important. I think US Soccer is finding ways to make sure they are competitive, but be hand in hand with everything that she's doing is what she needs to do to prepare.
Shell, Colonia, NJ
How's it feel to be retired?
Mia Hamm (12:53 PM)
It's great. I love being retired. I miss the people and not being able to see my friends as much. And being in shape. But it was the right time for me. But not one day goes by where I regret my decision. Now my focus is on my two girls.
Chad (Manor, TX)
Mia, Do you still play soccer or have you picked up another sport since retiring? Thanks!
Mia Hamm (12:54 PM)
I haven't played in a while. But one of the things I said is I won't play 11 v. 11 any more. I play a little bit of golf. And I would love to pick up the tennis racket. I definitely don't miss being tackled out there.
Lorraine (Chino Hills, CA)
Have you ever ridden with Lance? Will Athletes for Hope be holding any sort of public appearance or fundraiser in the near future?
Mia Hamm (12:56 PM)
No I have not ridden with Lance. I rode in one of his races in Austin. I ride a bike, he cycles. There's a big difference. With regards to our future plans, I think right now, the best advice I can give to anyone is to go to their website. For us it was getting the information out there for the launch. Now it's getting a database and reaching out to the athletes and going to the players associations and getting this information out to the athletes. There are charities out there that we can connect you with. We can celebrate what you've done and look forward to doing more.
Mia Hamm (12:57 PM)
Thank you for taking the time to write in. I encourage you to go to the website. Thank you for supporting me and my husband throughout our careers.