Mia Hamm is a legend. During her soccer career, she won an impressive four NCAA championships, three Olympic medals (two gold, one silver) and one World Cup. And she did it all with class. Mia became a role model for young athletes all over the world and paved the way for girls to participate in team sports. Before Mia popularized soccer, tennis and gymnastics rounded out women’s televised sports. She brought a face to the game. In girls’ youth soccer leagues all over America, arguments broke out over who would wear the number nine jersey. Every girl wanted to be just like Mia, and who can blame them?
Mia the Mom
Mia now has the most important job of her life: Mom to twins Grace and Ava, 3 1/2, and wife to retired baseball stud Nomar Garciaparra. ModernMom got the rare opportunity to talk with Mia about her soccer career, her family and her latest cause, the “Give Your Health a Shot” campaign. You may not be the go-to girl for Gatorade ads or Nike commercials, but you can still learn a thing or two from this wise, loving and super athletic mom. Here’s Mia’s perspective on being a role model to little girls everywhere and on being a supportive mom.
What is it like being a role model for millions of young girls?
It is very flattering, a huge honor. My teammates and I took it very seriously. When I was young and turned on the T.V., I never had the opportunity to watch women’s team sports. There was tennis and gymnastics during the Olympics. I grew up watching Chris Everett. But I didn’t play those sports! Now, young girls have the opportunity to watch their heroes on T.V.
What advice do you have for young girls who want to become athletes?
Go for it! Enjoy it! Sports teach young girls such great values: Goal setting, self esteem, confidence. You learn to play for a team. The stats are crazy in regards to how sports help young girls. For example, girls who play sports are less likely to enter into an abusive relationship and less likely to get pregnant at an early age. I know soccer helped me gain the confidence I lacked and discover my identity.
How has your life changed since you became a mom?
Well, the first four months, I didn’t shower! But in all seriousness, my husband and I talk about the changes all the time. Every day is a discovery. We learn more about our daughters all the time. It’s the simple things in life that make us happy. Being a mom is incredible.
How do you make sure your family stays healthy?
For me, it’s getting outside, being active and enjoying the sunshine. I also make sure we eat well; I try not to eat junk. The most important things are laughing and love. We make sure our kids know how much we love them.
Why is the ” Give Your Health a Shot” campaign an important cause to you?
“Give Your Health a Shot” is important to me for a couple of reasons. First, it’s an overall focus of a general health plan for adults. As a mom, it’s important to stay healthy. A lot of people think that getting vaccinations as a kid was enough, and that isn’t true. Also, it’s important that we set a good example for our kids. I make sure my kids know I’m healthy. I try to act as a good role model for them.
We know you are a very busy mom. How do you balance your family life with your various projects?
Well, it’s important to keep a balance, but my commitment is to my family first. I’m a very driven person, and I have a great support system that allows me to participate in causes like this one. My parents and my in-laws are great. We are very blessed to have people to support us.
About the “Give Your Health a Shot Campaign”:
This public health campaign emphasizes the need for adults to work with their health care providers to ensure that vaccinations are a part of their health care routine. Adults are actually more likely than children to die of diseases that vaccines can prevent. Tens of thousands of adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. The CDC recommends these vaccines for adults: Whooping Cough, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza (flu), Human papillomavirus (HPV), Pneumonia, Meningitis and Shingles. See link below to the “Give Your Health a Shot Campaign” for more information.
- Garciaparra Family: Mia Hamm Foundation
- Mia and Girls: Family Photo
- Mia vs. Mexico: John Todd