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Mia Hamm

Catching The Bug

Mariel Margaret Hamm was the fourth of six children born into a military family. Her father, Will Hamm, was a colonel in the U.S. army, and the family frequently moved as he was reassigned –to California, Alabama, Virginia, Texas and elsewhere. Hamm's mother, Stephanie, was a dancer, and she nicknamed her daughter Mia after prima ballerina Mia Slavenska. But Mia rejected her mother's attempts to make her into a dancer. Hamm refused to continue after just two ballet lessons when she was about six years old.

Hamm was already more interested in sports, especially soccer. When she was a toddler, her father was stationed in Florence, Italy. He bought season tickets to see the Fiorentina soccer club, and he often took Hamm to the games, where they both were mesmerized with the passion and athleticism of the players. "I believe it was in Italy that I really fell in love with the game," Hamm recalled to Greg Mazzola of Coach and Athletic Director magazine. When the family moved to Wichita Falls, Texas, her father started refereeing soccer games and coaching her older brother, Garrett, and older sister, Tiffany. Hamm started playing when she was five, and her father was often her coach.

Young Mia Hamm especially admired her brother's Garrett's soccer skills. "When Garrett was in high school, he was the athlete Mia wanted to be," her future husband Christian Corey revealed to Rosemary Feitelberg of WWD magazine. Garrett often chose Hamm to play with him in pick-up games against older boys. She also played Little League baseball, softball, tennis, basketball, and even football as a young girl, and later took up golf. There were few or no girls' teams in any sports, including soccer, so Hamm often played with the boys. At Notre Dame Middle School, she was the split end and kicker on the football team. "I was just one of the guys," Hamm later told Mike Spence of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph.

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Famous Sports StarsSoccerMia Hamm Biography - Catching The Bug, Record Breaker, Celebrity Treatment, Chronology, On A Winning Team, Wusa Pioneer - SELECTED WRITINGS BY HAMM: