Soccer legend Mia Hamm recalls Pat Summitt experience during visit to Knoxville (USA)
Dribbling two soccer balls has never been an issue for Mia Hamm.
Dribbling two basketballs, however, is a different story for Hamm – and one that reminds the Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion of a stop at a Lady Vols practice years ago.
At the time, Hamm – as well as former teammates Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini Hoch – were frequent visitors to Knoxville due to their former North Carolina soccer teammate Angela Kelly coaching at UT. On one visit, that connection led to Hamm and Lilly to try their hand at a Pat Summitt practice with confidence sparked from high school basketball experiences.
‘She empowered her players to be better’
“I realized quickly I needed to stick to soccer,” Hamm said Monday. “Those girls were so good and so competitive. It was really fun to see.
“But obviously to just talk to coach Summitt and see the culture she built and how she empowered her players to be better – to dream bigger – had such a huge impact on all of us.”
Hamm, Lilly and Venturini Hoch will be in Knoxville for the first time in a few years to coach a soccer camp Saturday and Sunday at Sansom Soccer Complex.
Hamm said she has not been in Knoxville since 2011, but is eager to be back with TeamFirst Soccer Academy – run by the trio – and work at the camp hosted by Emerald Force Soccer Club.
“Our relationship with Knoxville comes in many different ways,” Hamm said. “But obviously Angela Kelly, who was the coach at the University of Tennessee for a long time, kind of brought us there. …
“We are super excited. It’s a great community. It’s a wonderful place in the country. We are really excited to come back.”
The coed camp is open to participants from ages 6-17 and runs from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Hamm stressed the mission behind TeamFirst Soccer Academy and its camps is to provide players an evaluation-free environment to simply play and learn the game. The camps open with a reminder that making a mistake is fine and that’s a way to learn.
“We want to encourage you to get outside your comfort zone,” Hamm said. “When you do that, mistakes are going to happen. Hopefully, what they see with how we interact is that there is so much more to this game than just wins and losses. It’s about growth as a person, overcoming adversity, friendships. Soccer has brought us all together. …
“Hopefully, they learn a little bit and become a little better and continue to grow their love for the game.”
READ FULL STORY – knoxnews.com
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