ONEONTA, NY —
Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy, U. S. Women's National Team stars, two-time Olympic Gold Medalists, and two-time World Cup Champions were inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in the players category today. This is the first time in its 57-year history that the Soccer Hall of Fame has inducted an all-female player's class. ABC and ESPN veteran soccer broadcaster Seamus Malin served as Master of Ceremonies for the event.
Alan Rothenberg, former president of the U.S. Soccer Federation and chair/CEO of the 1994 World Cup, was the 2007 builder inductee and Bobby Smith, U.S. National Team defender, three-time NASL all-star, and three-time NASL Champion, was the 2007 veteran inductee. The induction ceremony, presented by The Century Council's Girl Talk: Choices and Consequences of Underage Drinking, took place at National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, NY. Girl Talk is a program created by The Century Council to fight underage drinking.
Immediately following the Induction Ceremony, the Induction 2007 Hall of Fame Game was played between the Washington Freedom and SoccerPlus Connecticut Reds. The match featured appearances by the newest Hall of Famers, Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy, as well as former teammates such as Hall of Famer (Class of 2006) Carla Overbeck and retired U.S. National Team veteran Tiffany Roberts. Video footage and photographs of the Induction Ceremony and the Hall of Fame Game are available upon request.
"Presiding over the induction of Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Alan Rothenberg and Bobby Smith was a wonderful way to start in my new position as President and COO of the National Soccer Hall of Fame," Hall of Fame President Steve Baumann stated. "These are four remarkable individuals who richly deserved to be inducted, and their presence will bring honor to the Hall."
Hamm was selected on 137 of the 141 ballots cast, setting a new high in votes received. Her 97.16 percent surpassed that of the previous percentage garnered by Michelle Akers in 2005, who was elected with 95.77 percent of the vote. Hamm's career is one of unparalleled success. While she, along with five other U.S. Women's National Team members, won two FIFA World Championships and two Olympic Gold Medals, she became the leading scorer in international soccer and the face of women’s soccer in America.
Her 158 international goals shattered the previous record by 50 goals. Further, she was an unselfish player, assisting on 144 goals scored by her teammates, figures that unquestionably make her the most dangerous player in the history of the game. During the course of her 18-year career, the Women's National Team had an impressive 82.5 percent overall winning percentage in her 275 matches. She was a founding player of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) and, in 2003, led the Washington Freedom to the Founders' Cup Championship.
"I am so honored to be a part of this special weekend and to join such a wonderful group of players in the Hall of Fame," said Mia Hamm. "During your career you never think about this type of honor. You just continue to cherish the game of soccer and hope that you can leave the game in a little better place than where you found it."
Foudy was elected with 83.69 percent of the vote, having been selected on 118 ballots. Her Women’s National Team career included serving as the team captain, following the retirement of Hall of Famer Carla Overbeck (Class of 2006) from 2000 through 2004, including the historic overtime win in the Gold Medal match of the 2004 Olympics. In her 271 international match career Foudy scored 45 goals, had 59 assists, and the team had an amazing 85.6 percent winning record. Foudy was also a founding player for the WUSA and led the San Diego Spirit for its three seasons. She has been President of the Women's Sports Foundation and has used her visibility in the sport to bring issues beyond soccer to the forefront, most prominently, with her membership on the President’s Advisory Committee on Title IX. She has, among other societal causes, been active in promotion of The Century Council's Girl Talk program.
"So many friends and family from all over the country came to the induction and for that I am grateful," said Julie Foudy. "My family has been my backbone throughout my entire soccer career, so it was incredibly special to have them all here with me in Oneonta. And then, to be recognized alongside my great friend, longtime teammate, and soccer legend, Mia Hamm, made it an absolutely perfect day."
Rothenberg was selected as the Builder Inductee in recognition of the National Soccer Medal of Honor he received in 1998. He is well known for his work in the soccer community, served as the President of the U.S. Soccer Federation from 1990 to 1998. He served as president, chairman and CEO of the 1994 World Cup, which was the best attended World Cup to date with 3,567,415 through the turnstiles. Rothenberg has been involved in American and international soccer in a number of ways. He was the founder and original chairman of Major League Soccer, which was established in 1993 and began play in 1996. He was chairman of the 1999 Women’s World Cup and a member of the organizing committee of the 2006 World Cup. He has been a vice president of CONCACAF since 1998 and has served on the FIFA Executive Committee. FIFA recognized Rothenberg with its highest honor, the FIFA Order of Merit, in 2006. The Hall of Fame honored Rothenberg on June 1, 1998, when he was the first ever recipient of the National Soccer Medal of Honor.
"It's a distinct honor to be inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame, at any time. It is particularly special to be inducted alongside Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm," said Alan Rothenberg. "I was privileged to be a part, along with thousands of others on and off the field, of many momentous milestones in U.S Soccer during the 1990s: The 1994 FIFA World Cup, the 1996 launch of Major League Soccer, the rise of the U.S. Men's National team to the elite level in FIFA's rankings, the creation of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. But, at the top of my memory list are the achievements of the Womens' program: The 1991 FIFA World Cup Championship, the 1996 Gold Medal in Atlanta, and the historic 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup and the U.S. Championship, thanks to Julie, Mia and their exceptional teammates."
Smith was elected by vote of the Hall of Famers and he was named on 50 percent of the ballots cast. He was a pioneer in the development of American Soccer. During his professional career from 1973 through 1981 he was the only American named NASL first team all-star in 1975, NASL second team all-star in 1974 and 1979, and is one of only three American players who won three NASL Championships. Smith’s career play, from 1973 and 1981, includes 18 full U.S. Men's international games, four U.S. Men’s World Cup qualifiers, 167 NASL regular season games, and 10 NASL playoff games.
"Being selected into the Hall of Fame by players that I played with and against is the greatest recognition I could ever imagine. Just an unbelievable thrill," said Bobby Smith.
Complete induction election results can be found on the National Soccer Hall of Fame website, www.soccerhall.org.
"Girl Talk empowers young women to make smart decisions, and affords them the opportunity to interact and learn from role models like Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm. Recognizing the role youth soccer plays in the development of healthy and active lifestyles, The Century Council has provided Girl Talk scholarships to soccer camps across the country," said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council. "The Century Council couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking than by being part of today’s historic event."
Realizing how girls look up to female soccer players, the Century Council partnered with the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team Players Association to create this extremely innovative and unprecedented program. Girl Talk engages teens and teaches them about the perils of underage drinking and promotes healthy lifestyles. Female soccer athletes are role models to teen girls and were the obvious partner for this important initiative. The Century Council is proud to highlight the careers of these extraordinary athletes and their commitment to family and healthy living.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame
The Mission of the National Soccer Hall of Fame is to Celebrate the History, Honor the Heroes, Inspire the Youth and Preserve the Legacy of Soccer in the United States. Located in Oneonta, NY, the National Soccer Hall of Fame opened a new 30,000 sq.ft., state-of-the-art multimedia museum in 1999. The Hall of Fame tells the story of soccer in America through artifacts, photographs, video and written narratives. The main VideoWall portrays some of the greatest moments and the greatest goals in soccer history as well as live soccer action from the World Cup, MLS, and U.S. Soccer matches. The Hall features an extensive interactive, youth oriented Kicks Zone, including a kid-sized indoor field, where visitors have fun kicking, heading and playing computer trivia stations and video soccer games. Unique and rare artifacts on exhibit range from The Dewar Cup, the oldest team trophy in U.S. Sport, to the Women's World Cup won by the USA in 1999, the uniforms of Pele and Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly's golden shoes, NASL championship rings and MLS championship trophies. That and so much more are all at the National Soccer Hall of Fame. In addition to the interactive Museum, the National Soccer Hall of Fame's 61-acre complex boasts the Kicks Hall of Fame Museum Store, a research library, four world-class soccer fields and office/meeting facilities. For more information, visit www.soccerhall.org.
The Century Council