Soccer Star Mia Hamm Could Be Headed Back to Triangle
Posted February 11, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
HILLSBOROUGH — She is the Michael Jordan of her sport. Arguably the most popular female athlete in the world! Talks are underway to bring former UNC and current National Team soccer star Mia Hamm to the Triangle.
WRAL has learned Hamm is very close to signing a deal to play for Raleigh's new professional women's team.
This is a big deal for not only the teamMia Hammwould play for, but also the fledgling league she's joining. Just ask her former coach, Anson Dorrance, who runs the top ranked women's soccer program at UNC. "What it's gonna do for the W League and the professional team in Raleigh is it's gonna give them a credibility that money couldn't purchase. I mean to have an athlete on their roster with the opportunity of this community to watch her play."Brandan Moylan, owner of a Hillsborough soccer catalog company, says you can't underestimate the star power of Mia Hamm. "Mia's probably, in terms of the American soccer community, she's the one hero for the men or the women. We sell a tremendous amount of Mia replica jerseys which actually has Mia's number on the front and here name on the back as well as a Mia Hamm soccer poster, which is our number one selling soccer poster, either men's or women's soccer."And on ground level, it's not hard to find a Mia Hamm admirer. Just ask Cary High School Goalie Kelly Sweetingham "I think she's a great soccer player I think she's done wonders for the program at Carolina and for the national team she's just an awesome player."The coach of the Cary High School Women's team, Kim Yankowski, is a professional player herself. She hopes to play along side Hamm in Raleigh."If I'm able to make the team and she's one of my teammates it would be a tremendous experience to be on the same field with her."Now the big question is, if Mia Hamm does sign with the Raleigh Wings, how often will she take the field? Hamm also plays for the US National Team, in addition to having a number of commercial endorsements.
There's no telling how much of an impact Mia Hamm's presence could have on women's soccer in the Triangle. Back in 1991, 1,200 girls were registered to play soccer in the Capital Area Soccer League. By last year, that number had nearly tripled to 3,500 players.