MLS Soccer

Soccer legend Hamm to hold court in Lacey

Mia Hamm, the biggest name in U.S. women's soccer, is coming to Lacey.

Hamm will be the featured speaker at a soccer camp hosted by the Puget Sound Slammers from Aug. 16-19.

“This is big,” said John Purtteman, a coach and coordinator of the clinic. “Even people who don’t know women’s soccer have heard of Mia Hamm.”

She has scored more international goals (158) than any player, male or female, in the history of soccer. She is to women’s soccer what Michael Jordan is to pro basketball.

“And really, whatever she’s done for women’s soccer is secondary to being a role model,” Purtteman said.

Hamm played on the U.S. women’s national team, winning the World Cup in 1991 and 1999 and earning Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004. In her autobiography “Go for the Goal: A Champion’s Guide To Winning In Soccer And Life,” Hamm writes that the fun and the love of the game is “more important than the results.”

“I hope you will be as inspired by my passion for the sport as by my accomplishments on the field,” she wrote in the preface. “To be a great soccer player, you must be in love with the game.”

It’s Hamm’s first clinic in Washington.

Walid Khoury is the director of the Slammers and is working with Purtteman at starting a new program in the Olympia area. Purtteman, men’s soccer coach at Evergreen State College and a member of the state’s soccer hall of fame, has worked with Khoury for the past year to start up the Slammers.

“As I get to know this guy, I can see that he’s in this for all the right reasons,” Purtteman said.

Hamm, who was born March 17, 1972, in Alabama, retired from soccer in 2004. She married former Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra in 2003.

Campers will get camp T-shirts autographed by Hamm, who’ll spend one day at the camp.

The four-day camp that runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Regional Athletic Complex is for boys and girls ages 7 to 16 and costs $200. Registration can be done at the camp’s website: www.pugetsoundslammers.org.

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