CHICAGO (August 26, 2007) – Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy, two legends of women’s soccer who helped pioneer the sport in the United States and around the world, were officially inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Sunday in a ceremony in Oneonta, N.Y.
As their historic careers progressed, there was little doubt that the duo would someday be enshrined, and that was confirmed last February as Hamm was selected on 137 of the 141 ballots cast, setting a new high in votes received. Her 97.16% surpassed that of the previous high vote garnered by Michelle Akers in 2005, who was elected with 95.77% of the vote. Foudy was elected with 83.69 percent of the vote, having been selected on 118 ballots. The U.S. Women’s National Team won more than 80 percent of its games and four world championships during the era in which the two played.
Carla Overbeck, the captain of the 1999 Women’s World Cup champions, herself a Hall of Fame inductee last year, will present Foudy. Former U.S. National Team and long-time University of North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance will present Hamm.
Hamm and Foudy, who have earned induction on the first ballot for which they were eligible, both played their final games for the USA during the last match of the 2004 Fan Celebration Tour to commemorate the U.S. WNT’s memorable victory at the 2004 Olympics. The 5-0 win over Mexico on Dec. 8, 2004, capped off historic careers that saw them win two Women’s World Cup titles and two Olympic gold medals, as well as lead a generation of players who were at the center of groundbreaking achievements in women’s sports. The emotional run to the 2004 Olympic gold medal in Greece was the final world championship for the duo.
During Hamm’s 18 years on the U.S. National Team she became perhaps the most recognizable and admired women’s soccer player in the world. Her goal scoring feats were legendary as she struck for a world-record 158 international goals, a mark that still stands to this day and likely will for years to come. Her 144 career assists are also a U.S. record, and she played 275 international matches, second only in history to former teammate Kristine Lilly. A native of Selma, Alabama, Hamm played her youth soccer in Texas and Virginia before being spotted by then U.S. head coach Anson Dorrance. Hamm became the youngest woman ever to ever play with the U.S. National team when she debuted at the age of 15. Hamm won four NCAA titles at the University of North Carolina, leading the nation in scoring three times and ended her collegiate career as the ACC’s all-time leading scorer in goals (103), assists (72) and points (278). She received the prestigious Honda-Broderick Award as the nation’s outstanding female collegiate athlete two consecutive years and was named U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year five consecutive years (1994-1998). She played three years in the WUSA, leading the Washington Freedom to the championship in 2003. She was also named FIFA Women’s World Player of Year twice (2001-2002). Hamm achieved iconic status for the thousands of girls who play soccer across the USA and in 1999 was honored by Nike when the company named the largest building on its campus at the World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, after her. She also wrote a best-selling book titled, “Go for the Goal – A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life.”
Foudy, who captained the USA from the time of Carla Overbeck’s retirement in 2000 to her own in 2004, is one of the greatest leaders in the history of women’s sports. On the field, she was known for her competitive fire, phenomenal work rate and smooth skills on the ball. She played 271 times for the USA, third behind Lilly and Hamm, while scoring 45 goals from the midfield, good for ninth on the all-time U.S. scoring list. A southern California native, she started in all seven world championships in which she played, playing every single match, including the 2004 Olympic final when she went the distance on a badly sprained ankle. A four-time All-American at Stanford University, she finished her college career with 52 goals and 32 assists. Off the field, Foudy is one of the most influential female athletes in the United States. She took over as the president of the Women's Sports Foundation following the 2000 Olympics and finished her term at the end of 2002. She was named to a Presidential Commission on Title IX in 2002 and played a major role stopping any major changes to the law. She was also placed atop the list of Most Powerful Women in sports by The Sporting News in their 2003 and broke new ground with her work as an in studio analyst for ESPN and ABC’s coverage of the 1998 and 2006 World Cups. Foudy, who played three seasons in the WUSA for the San Diego Spirit, won the 1997 FIFA Fair Play Award for her work against child labor. She was the first woman and thus far the only American to win the award.
Mia Hamm Career Highlights
- Debuted for the U.S. Women’s National Team at the age of 15 years, 140 days, on Aug. 3, 1987 vs. China.
- Started her first Women’s World Cup match on Nov. 17, 1991, against Sweden, and scored, in the 3-2 victory.
- In 1994, she was named U.S. Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year for the first of what would be an unprecedented five consecutive years from 1994 1998.
- Became the only non-goalkeeper to ever play in goal during a Women’s World Cup when she played the last five minutes against Denmark on June 8, 1995, after Briana Scurry was ejected and the USA was out of substitutes. She made two saves in the USA’s 2-0 win.
- Set up both goals as the USA defeated China, 2-1, in the championship match at the 1996 Olympics, as the USA claimed the first-ever Olympic gold medal for women’s soccer.
- Made soccer history on Sept. 18, 1998, in Rochester, N.Y., scoring her 100th career goal in a 4 0 victory over Russia, becoming just the third player and first American to score 100 or more international goals.
- Broke the all time international scoring record, for men and women, on May 16, 1999, against Brazil in Orlando, Fla., with her 108th career goal. She would go on to score 50 more before her retirement.
- Scored the USA’s opening goal of the 1999 Women’s World Cup against Denmark at a sold-out Giants Stadium on June 19, 1999.
- Nailed the USA’s fourth penalty kick in the dramatic shootout with China to help win the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She was named to the All-Women’s World Cup Team.
- Played her 200th international match for the USA against Norway in Germany on July 16, 2000.
- Scored the winning goal in the 2000 Olympic semifinal in a 1-0 victory over Brazil on Sept. 24, 2000.
- Scored the game-winning "golden goal" in the USA's 2-1 overtime win over Canada in the 2002 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup Final.
- Had two goals and five assists at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as the USA finished third.
- Scored twice in the 2004 Olympics and set up the winning goal in the semifinal in the overtime victory over Germany to help the USA to the gold medal game.
- Scored her 158th and final goal in a U.S. uniform against Denmark on Nov. 3, 2004.
Julie Foudy Career Highlights
- Debuted for the U.S. Women’s National Team at the age of 17 on July 29, 1988, vs. France.
- Started her first Women’s World Cup match on Nov. 17, 1991, against Sweden.
- Was a starter for the USA when it captured the inaugural 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup in China, playing every minute of every game.
- Assisted on Shannon MacMillan's sudden death overtime goal in the 1996 Olympic semifinal to defeat Norway, 2-1.
- Scored her only career hat trick against Ukraine on Dec. 20, 1998 in Fresno, Calif.
- Scored the second goal in the opening game of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Denmark and had three assists in the tournament, including one on the first goal against Brazil in the semifinal.
- Scored the USA’s lone goal on a header in the 1-1 draw with China at the 2000 Olympics.
- Appeared in her historic 200th game on June 30, 2002, against Canada in Toronto.
- Was injured in the 2004 Olympic semifinal against Germany and had to leave the match, but gutted it out to play all 120 minutes in the gold medal game win over Brazil.
- Started 258 of the 271 games in which she appeared.
- Scored one goal in each of her four Women’s World Cup tournaments.
- Starting in 1991, she played more than a thousand minutes for the USA every year (except for 2001 when she played just three games) for 12 years.
- The U.S. team lost just 25 of the 271 matches she played.
- Scored her final goal in a U.S. uniform on Oct. 10, 2004, in a 5-0 win over New Zealand.
The induction ceremony in Oneonta also saw former U.S. Soccer President Alan I. Rothenberg inducted as a builder and former NASL standout Bobby Smith inducted as a veteran.
Alan I. Rothenberg
Alan I. Rothenberg served as the president of U.S. Soccer from 1990 to 1998, helping to transform the sport in the United States. In addition to helping the U.S. stage the highly successful 1994 FIFA World Cup USA, he played important roles in founding both Major League Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
Bobby Smith was a pioneer in the development of American Soccer, earning 18 caps from 1973 to 1981. He played for five NASL teams, including the New York Cosmos and earned all-star honors three times as a defender. He is one of only three American players to win three NASL championships.