AP NEWS

Soccer players learn from Olympic, World Cup champ Mia Hamm

August 8, 2016

Dozens of young soccer players got a taste of what it’s like to be an Olympian Sunday at a clinic in Raleigh hosted by Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini-Hoch. The three women all played for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between 1989 and 1994 and were teammates on the United States’ women’s national soccer team who won gold at the Atlanta Summer Games in 1996.

Blue Cross Blue Shield sponsored the camp for girls between ages 8 and 12 as an effort to encourage players and their parents to make health a priority.

Most of the players didn’t know Hamm, Lilly or Venturini. <span style=“line-height: 20.8px;”>“I’m super excited, probably more excited than her because I was a fan of Mia Hamm growing up,” one mom said.

But they benefit from the path they carved, of athletic achievement for young women through focus and hard work. The camp offered lessons in the skills of soccer and also in <span style=“line-height: 20.8px;”>confidence and tools to live healthy and fearless.

<span style=“line-height: 20.8px;”>”(They learn) how to participate. Teamwork. Friendship and getting to learn new people as well. It’s so exciting,” said Hernan Daza, a mother of one of the participants. “I think young girls just need to be shown that they can accomplish they’re dreams as long as they work hard.”

Hamm said she loves to share what she learned in a life on and off the field with the next generation.

“It’s always good to come back,” she said. “The history that we have, being able to give back to a community that invested so much in us for so so many years is fantastic.”