A monthly column about the State of U.S. Soccer that takes a hard look at everything from the performance of the U.S. National Teams to pro soccer in the good ‘ole U-S-of-A . If you’re looking for a viewpoint that you won’t see in a generic, nuts-and-bolts U.S. Soccer press release, you’ve come to the right place.
With the end of the 10-game “Fan Celebration Tour” comes the end of the playing careers of three of the greatest women’s soccer players to ever play the game. In this companion piece with the trivia that serves as the book end to this issue, we look back at things you maybe didn’t know about this terrific trio and give you insight on what might be next for them in their new life off the field.
What’s left to say about Mia, Julie and Joy that hasn’t already been written in cover stories in Soccer America, Sports Illustrated and USA Today, or spoken in sit-down interviews on national talk shows?
Well, not a lot. But we’ll give it a whirl.Joy Fawcett
--Born in Inglewood, Calif., home of the Forum, where the Lakers put together their dynasty in the 80s. Her family moved south to the surfing Mecca of Huntington Beach, Calif.
--Early retirement age: 36.
--Middle name is Lynn.
--Nickname is “Beef,” after her maiden name Biefeld. She’s also know as “Joyful” or “Mama.”
--Attended the University of California-Berkeley, graduating with a degree in Physical Education in 1990.
The Real Joy:
--Is the undisputed “Ultimate Soccer Mom,” having raised three kids – Katey (age 10), Carli (age 7) and Madi (age 3) – while taking them all over the globe during her remarkable 17-year career. Sure, she had a team full of built-in nannies and/or her devoted husband Walt there for help, but I doubt any other athlete in the world has been able to have the career she has had and done it with a family at her side almost the entire time.
--Was named the first UCLA women's soccer coach in 1993, remaining there until 1997. She has also coached numerous club soccer teams.
--Joy is renowned for her remarkable healing powers. Case in point: after having her first child, she was back on the soccer field in no more than two weeks. In 2003, she came back from an ankle surgery in just 11 days while playing for the San Diego Spirit. And she recently overcame back surgery to play every minute of all six matches in the 2004 Olympics.
Predicted future profession: Elementary School Teacher. While some might expect her to find her way back into the college coaching ranks, we think that the only coaching she might be doing these days is for one of her daughter’s youth soccer teams. From her ability to handle young children running circles around her, to the calm demeanor she exhibited as the backbone of the U.S. back line, to her coaching experience, she’s a natural born teacher.Julie Foudy
--Born in San Diego, Calif., she hasn’t strayed very far, currently living downtown. She grew up in suburban Orange County, in Mission Viejo to be exact.
--Early retirement age: 33.
--Middle name is Maurine.
--Nickname is “Jules.”
--Attended Stanford University, graduating with a degree in Biology in 1993. She was later accepted into Stanford Medical School, decided to pursue soccer over medicine. Once she discovered that she could make a living playing soccer, it was no contest. To quote Foudy, “As fun as 12 more years of school sounded, I’d rather run around in the sun for a living.”
The Real Julie:
--She often tells strangers that her last name rhymes with “howdy,” instead of the much more accurate “Loud-y.”
--Was ranked the Most Powerful Woman in Sports in 2003 and has been called the “Billie Jean King of her generation” for her activism within sports. She won the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1997 for her work against child labor, becoming the first female and American to receive the honor. In 2002, she was named to the Presidential Commission to review Title IX and played a major role stopping any changes in the law. She was named President of the Women’s Sports Foundation after the 2000 Olympics and served in that position until the end of 2002.
--Always with something to say, whether it be a witty remark or pointed observation, Foudy proved to be a natural in front of the camera, having worked at ESPN as a studio analyst for the 1998 World Cup and a color commentator for the NCAA Women’s College Cup from 1998-2001.
--Was once a national endorser for Dunkin Donuts after giving them so many free plugs over the years, she is obsessed with donuts. While her favorite kind is chocolate glazed, it’s the donut HOLES that she absolutely cannot refuse.
--As the team’s resident mouthpiece on politics and current events, her morning ritual on the road is to grab the paper and a coffee, and then bring other teammates into a grand discussion about happenings around the world.
Predicted future profession: Broadcaster. She has all the making of a successful politician, but Julie has way too much personality to have to talk around issues and be beaten down by the rigors and demands of Washington. And, she admits she’s too impatient to head out on the campaign trail. That said, she’d gladly accept a cushy cabinet position. So it looks like she could be headed instead to the broadcast booth, where her experience and “personality plus” should continue to serve her well.Mia Hamm
--Born in Selma, Ala., but has been all over the place since. She’s lived in almost a dozen different cities in her life, from her adolescent years in Wichita Falls, Texas, to her pre-Olympic beachfront place in Manhattan Beach, to her recent pad off the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, to her current home base in Austin, Texas.
--Early retirement age: 32.
--Middle name is Margaret. First name is Mariel.
--Her lifelong nickname is, of course, “Mia,” but she also responds to “Meej” or “Hammer.”
--Attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, graduating in 1994 with a degree in Political Science.
The Real Mia:
--Already a best-selling author with the inspirational and instructional soccer book “Go for the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life,” she recently went the way of Madonna and Fergie and published a children’s book entitled “Winners Never Quit” about the lesson she learned growing up and playing sports with her older brother Garrett, who passed away in 1997 with complications from a bone marrow transplant. Apparently, the ultra-competitive mini-Mia used to quit something the second she started losing, from soccer games to board games. Nowadays, she comes back from disappointing finishes in a pair of world championships to help her team win Olympic gold.
--Started the Mia Hamm Foundation in 1999 to raise funds and awareness for bone marrow transplant patients and their families, as well as provide more opportunities for young girls in sports.
--Traded fictitious baseball “curses” when husband Nomar Garciaparra was traded from the Red Sox to the Cubs this summer. Mia quickly became one of the Wrigley Field faithful, catching the Cubbies as often as she could after the trade. (Yes, she’s actually watched all nine innings on most of these occasions.) Who knows where Nomar will end up in 2005? Let’s just hope it’s not the Yankees.
--Was named one of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 1997.
--How many people do you know have a building named after them? Count Mia Hamm as one of them, providing the namesake for the largest building at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in 1999. Mia became the first female soccer player with her own signature shoe style.
Predicted future profession: Wife, Mother, Amateur Golfer. “Mamma Mia” has already hinted about wanting to have a big family, and there’s no better time than now. She won’t admit it, but she’s the greatest female goal scorer to ever play the game, and she was fortunate to go out on top. The only challenge left for her is parenthood. [Note to Mia: Expect to hear from U.S. Soccer’s Under-14 Developmental Program when little Mia Jr. turns 9.] Until the time comes when she’s ready to start a family, look for her to be working on her putting game at a course new year.