Soccer Legend Mia Hamm Made a Surprise Appearance at a Girls’ Soccer Team Practice
Most young girls playing soccer today want to grow up and become superstar athletes like Alex Morgan or Megan Rapinoe. But one of the all-time greats in the 90s who helped paved the way for today’s stars is none other than World Cup winner and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Mia Hamm. Partnering with Volkswagen (the presenting sponsor of U.S. Soccer), the former U.S. Women’s National Team star stopped by the Palo Alto Soccer Club to surprise a young team of girls.
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The team’s coaching staff and parents worked diligently with VW to keep the surprise under wraps until the record-setting Hamm could make an appearance. “We wanted the girls to have the best experience possible,” said the team’s head coach David Madrigal. As soon as the soccer star stepped onto the field, the girls were screaming and giggling in delight.
After the team calmed down, Mia spoke to the girls about teamwork, goal setting, self-determination, and empowerment. Fourteen-year-old Finley Craig said, “She’s one of my role models and not just in soccer, but in life. She told me ‘don’t let anyone tell you that boys are better than girls’ and to ‘follow my dreams without interruption.’” Finley’s mother was in awe of how kind and down to Earth the superstar player was and how patient she was with a group of giddy teenagers.
An experience like no other
Unlike some celebrity appearances that last 10 minutes or so, Mia stayed on the pitch for hours, running drills with the team, signing balls, and taking photos with the girls. But that wasn’t the entire surprise for the Palo Alto soccer team; they then went to Levi’s Stadium to see the U.S. Women’s National Team play a friendly match against South Africa and were able to get down to the field to watch the current team warm up.
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Coach Madrigal said that visit from Mia Hamm was magical for his team and that he’s still seeing the spirit and vitality she instilled in them during her visit. “I see a fire, an energy, a boost of confidence, really, instilled in them that I haven’t seen before,” said the coach. “When somebody like Mia tells you can achieve it, you believe in it.”