ESPN recently named Mia Hamm the greatest female athlete of the last 40 years. The soccer champ hung up her cleats in 2004, but she commanded the game for 17 years and scored more international career goals than any other soccer player on the planet.
Her sporty outdoors look also made her a huge hit with advertisers.
Now 40, Mia spends her time being a mom to her three kids with former baseball player Nomar Garciaparra. Plus, she’s devoted to her charity work. She founded the Mia Hamm foundation, which raises money to support families dealing with bone marrow transplants and organizes activities to inspire young athletes.
“For me, sports were the one thing that came easily to me and it helped me develop the confidence socially, it helped me improve in school and helped me focus,” Mia reveals to Healthy Hollywood about the importance sports played in her childhood.
The retired soccer champ has teamed up with Dicks Sporting Goods on their “Gifts That Matter” campaign, which hopes to encourage folks to buy athletic gifts for loved ones.
“As a young child, I remember at the age of 11, the gift that mattered to me was my first pair of leather cleats. It really meant that I had arrived as a soccer player. Plus, it was the one thing I didn’t have to share with my siblings. They were mine and this gift inspired me to keeping moving and to go after my dream.”
Mia says all children can benefit from playing sports. “We’re cutting physical education classes in school and that’s a real outlet both physically and mentally for young kids. I was someone who couldn’t express themselves verbally, so I did it physically. If I was frustrated or sad or happy, I would go out on to the playground or at [soccer] practice and show what I was all about and get some of the negative energy out and express the positive energy I had inside,” she adds to Healthy Hollywood.
As to whether she thinks her kids, twin five-year-old girls and an eleven month old son, will feel pressure to excel in athletics, since they are the kids of two former athletes, Mia says she and her husband just hope they’re active.
“We want them to participate just because of all the physical and emotional benefits. It is soccer for me and baseball for my husband, but that’s what we love to do. They might like to do something totally different. I hope they want to play soccer, but if they don’t I’m ok with that.”
From now until December 25, anytime someone uses the #GIftsThatMatter hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, they will automatically be entered into a sweepstakes.
For more information, check out www.dickssportinggoods.com.
-- Terri MacLeod
Copyright 2015 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.