To Mia Hamm, scoring goals isn’t as important as being a valuable member of the team.

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Soccer star Mia Hamm is a quiet leader.

Mia Hamm may be the best soccer player in the world. She has scored more goals than anyone else. But it doesn’t matter to her how many times she scores, as long as her team is successful.

“I want to do whatever I can to help the team win,” she says. “If that means working hard on defense and not getting a shot on goal, that’s fine with me.”

Mia started playing soccer when she was six. Her parents had brought her to a ballet class, but Mia didn’t like it. She wanted to play with her older brother Garrett instead. She was lucky that Garrett didn’t mind taking her along when he played with other kids. So she never went back to ballet after that first class.

“Garrett always picked me for his teams,” Mia says. “No one else would pick me because I was a quiet little girl. Boy, did they regret it.”

Mia’s family moved often because of her father’s job in the Air Force, and Mia found that taking part in soccer, basketball, and baseball helped her meet new kids. “Sports helped me develop friendships and made it easier to fit in,” she says. “It also helped me build confidence in myself.”

Mia became so good at soccer that in 1987 she was invited to join the United States team. She was only fifteen. No one that young had ever played on the national team. But Mia’s hard work and great speed helped her become a valuable member of the team.

Coach Tony DiCicco says Mia is quiet and shy off the soccer field. “But when she steps onto the field, she is intense and can be a vocal leader,” says Mr. DiCicco, who coached the U.S. team that won the Women’s World Cup in 1999.

There is no doubt that Mia Hamm is one of the best soccer players ever. She is also one of the most unselfish players.

“Every coach would love to have their star player fit in as well as Mia does,” says Coach DiCicco. “All she wants is to be a part of the team, whether she scores three goals or doesn’t score at all.”