Mia Hamm (mē´ə) (Mariel Margaret Hamm), 1972–, U.S. soccer player, b. Selma, Ala. The best all-around women's soccer player of her generation, she was perhaps most responsible for making women's soccer a significant American sport. A tireless forward, she played for the Univ. of North Carolina, leading the team to four NCAA titles (1989–90, 1992–93). At 15 she became the youngest person to play for the U.S. national soccer team, which won two Women's World Cups (1991, 1999) and two Olympic gold medals (1996, 2004) while she was a member. When she retired from the U.S. national team in 2004, she held the international record for scoring—for both women and men—with 158 goals. She also played in the short-lived Women's United Soccer Association professional league (2001–3) for the Washington Freedom.