One on One with Soccer Legend, Major-League Wife and Mom Mia Hamm
by Jené Luciani
She’s arguably the world’s most famous female soccer player, scoring more goals than most male and female players alike in her lengthy career (take that, David Beckham). After retiring from the sport in 2004, 40-year old Mia Hamm settled into life in Los Angeles as a wife and mother of three (she married former MLB shortstop Nomar Garciaparra in 2003) but has yet to slow down.
We chatted one-on-one with Hamm who was in town promoting the Dick’s Sporting Goods Gifts that Matter campaign.
Jené: Obviously, you’re in great shape, how do you stay in your soccer form being a busy mom?
Mia: (laughs). Well first and foremost, thank you. I am not in my playing shape but I am trying to get there! I just had my 3rd child 11 months ago. Constantly, I'm trying to find time for myself and it is really important to get those work outs in. Not only does it help you get healthy, but helps your mindset and how you feel about yourself. With my husband, we work like a team with the baby. I'll go work out while Nomar has him or I will take him on a run or do things that I can do with him. The good thing is that my twin girls (who will be 6 in March) are in school most of the day so we just have to worry about the baby.
J: What are your favorite workouts -- do you like running, Zumba?
M: I would embarrass myself with Zumba! I like to run but whether it’s cross training or doing some free weights. I'm trying to get that strength and core strength back. Having a child impacts your body! You form knee issues, back issues - all from carrying your child around.
J: When you’re on the go, what do you do as far as eating? How do you maintain a healthy diet?
M: My focus is based on what I'm doing that day. Making sure I'm not eliminating carbs completely but making sure I eat the right amount. For a living I was burning 2300-3500 calories a day, depending on what we were doing. So, I really never had to focus on that and now I have to. I make sure I get enough protein by eating a good breakfast. Another thing is how I snack; when your kids are around you’ll eat whatever. I make sure it's fresh, focusing on eating fruit and vegetables rather than eating junk!
J: People look at you as a role model and as an inspiration. What did you learn from your soccer career that you apply to other areas of your life that other people can take away from?
M: There is no exception for hard work. I think you get out of it what you put into it. There might be small fixes but, in the end, whether it is your health or fitness, if you don’t put the work in, you don’t see results. I try to apply that now whether it’s an investment in me, time with my kids and relationships with other people. A lot of the times you say that you're too tired to work out or it's going to take too long to go see your friends. When you get there you say, "I'm so glad I did this or I'm so glad I worked out." You get out of it what you put in it.
J: What would you say would be the secret to your success and what kept you going all those years?
M: I think I was afraid to fail. Not that I didn't have confidence but that I wouldn't find something else to do. When I grew up, I was a shy kid. One of the things I did very well was sports, so that gave me a voice and validated me to my peers at times. They would say, "She's good at this; let's have her on our team." That enabled me socially, to find myself and here I am today.
J: Why are you teaming up with Dick's Sporting Goods Gifts that Matter Campaign?
M: [DSG] approached me and asked if there was anything in my life whether it was a small gesture or a gift that mattered to me and made a difference. I told them "Yes, I remember when I was 11 years old; I got my first pair of leather cleats." For a young soccer player, that is huge and that meant that you're legitimate. It is the next step, because you usually had the plastic cleats. I was like "Hey, I have taken the next step. My parents have seen it and I see it now." Now what we’re trying to do is inspire other people. You never know that you can be giving a gift that inspires the athlete in your life. It’s also important to me personally to give back. I have a foundation that helps families who have loved ones undergoing bone marrow transplants and in getting people registered in the national bone marrow registry. My foundation also helps encourage girls in sports, whether it’s buying them soccer balls or creating the after school soccer programs and getting them coaches they need. It’s all to make sure that they can gain more confidence in themselves and feel that they matter.
J: Do you hope that your children will be athletes, given that both you and your husband are world-class athletes?
M: We will definitely encourage them to do sports. Even if they don’t pursue it professionally, overall it helps build self-esteem, communication skills, and teaches you to work as a team. As for how far they want to go with sports will be their choice. My parents never pushed me to do anything. They saw I enjoyed what I was doing and that is what I will do with my own children.
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