Mia Hamm Responsible for Soccer's Growth?

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by sublogik, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. sublogik

    sublogik New Member

    Mar 31, 2005
    New York
    SI rated Mia Hamm as the 21st most "revolutionary" US athlete of all time. Here is what they said:

    "Few athletes had more impact on the growth of their sport than Mia Hamm did with women's soccer. Born the same year Title IX passed (1972), Hamm helped eliminate many of the negative connotations associated with women and sport. Soccer has grown into one of America's most popular participatory sports over the past two decades, and Hamm, more than any male soccer player, is responsible for its boom."

    I disagree with this commentary. Any thoughts?
  2. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    She has definitely gotten more headlines and scored more international goals than any other US player. She has a memorable name, not too difficult to look at, and has been a great role model. She isn't the best soccer player, but has been an inspiration and magnet for many soccer playing girls.

    Landon and Freddy are the only men(boys) that have gotten much press, and they are fairly new on the scene.
  3. Chowderhead

    Chowderhead Member

    Aug 3, 1999
    Central Falls, RI
    I'm not going to get started on this.
  4. m vann

    m vann Moderator
    Staff Member

    Colorado Rapids, Celtic FC, & Louisville City
    Sep 10, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Celtic FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I can't knock Mia. She's provided me with so many memories over the years. One of the most influencial female athletes of our time. While she may not provide the same kind of inspiration for boys, she still is a model athlete and has the determination that everyone can admire and lean on.
  5. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    espn hype of her during her campaign during meaningless friendlies to set the goal scoring record for women accounted for much of her public awareness...

    given female football is a small pond compared to the mens game, SI and ESPN shouldn't display their ignorance too publicly....

    while the female game is entertaining at times, ask SI about the 1994 world cup and how it happened before the mia hype....
  6. Eric B

    Eric B Member

    Feb 21, 2000
    the LBC
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think you have that in reverse. Mia Hamm was Mia Hamm back in 1999, not on the run to which you refer. Unless that happened before USA 99, then I recant my statement.
  7. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    I believe mia's goal setting exploits were pre-1998....

    while female soccer is a nice story, it's like comparing class A baseball to the major leagues...

    she's nice for what she does... and that's it.
  8. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

    Jun 12, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I hear what you are saying, but I also understand why ESPN picked Mia Hamm.

    Personally, I think Michelle Acres was the real revolutionary in womens soccer. She made it cool to be a powerful, skillful athlete, and dominated the sport in it's beginnings. She was the leader of the 1st World Cup.

    But Mia Hamm "represents" the explosion of women's soccer, and really all of women's team sports, on the American sports stage. Girls youth soccer and womens soccer was nothing before Mia, and Mia was there during the explosion, as the best player and representing the image of the sport. ESPN's selection of her is part real and part symbol.

    By comparison, US mens soccer has grown slowly over a much longer period of time, evolving rather than exploding onto the US sports scene. No single US male player can claim the same role of Mia Hamm, or even Michelle Acres.

    Lastly, no US player made the 1994 World Cup possible. It would never have happened if it had depended solely on US soccer's development. USA94 was a gift. FIFA gave the US that Cup, in hopes of pulling the sport out of an American ice age.
  9. HogDaddy

    HogDaddy Member

    Mar 27, 2001
    St. Charles, MO
    If not Mia, than who? Name me a US male player who has had near her impact. Read the commentary carefully. They attribute the growth in WOMENS soccer to Mia. They give her credit for boosting the growth of PARTICIPATION in soccer. I can’t quibble with that.
  10. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yep. I think if you're talking about individuals then Mia Hamm has had more influence than any other soccer player here in the States. One might reasonably argue that this is less because she's THAT spectacular and more because she's been given more than her fair share of the limited amount of spotlight devoted to soccer in general, but stuff like that happens, especially when pretty women and American media get involved. You could also argue that they're making the argument too parochially, thinking only in terms of how the image of Mia Hamm led parents to get their kids involved when they should instead be thinking about those Yanks abroad slowly building credibility and establishing a market for US players worldwide, or grass roots organizers laying a groundwork for leagues, or investors establishing the MLS.

    what they're saying not the same thing as saying she's more important to US soccer than MLS, or she's more important to it than the 2002 USMNT showing in the World Cup, or the other stuff I've mentioned (which of course she ain't, IMO). They are just talking about individual soccer players and as far as that goes I don't have any trouble giving her lots of credit. It's not as if she ever took that spotlight for granted. I never saw her play a game where she didn't give everything. I never saw her interviewed where she didn't (albeit awkwardkly at times) defer praise to her teammates. Having one person be the icon for a whole sport is bound to be unfair and bound to be inaccurate at best, but as icons go we could have done worse.
  11. Father Ted

    Father Ted BigSoccer Supporter

    Manchester United, Galway United, New York Red Bulls
    Nov 2, 2001
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Ireland Republic
    Would Pele and his popularity when he was playing in the NASL have had more of an impact than Hamm? Serious question.
  12. numerista

    numerista New Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    Actually, soccer grew into one of America's most popular participatory sports between 1975 and 1990. Since then, participation has been flat, but competitive soccer has grown. Hamm is a product of the participation boom, not a cause of it. Her great contribution is helping turn women's soccer into an internationally recognized sport.

    Looks like SI is about 15 years behind the times.
  13. FIFARay007

    FIFARay007 Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'd knock Mia..........up ;)

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