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Zach Pekale | | June 25, 2020

Mia Hamm's college career: North Carolina highlights and notable moments

A look at UNC women's soccer dynasty

Mia Hamm became a soccer icon at North Carolina. A four-time champion, record-shattering icon that helped the Tar Heels cement their status as a college soccer dynasty. But before she stepped on a field at UNC, she was already changing the game.

In 1987, Hamm was not like most 15-year-olds.

Most teens spend their afternoons consumed by homework or an extra curricular activity. Hamm fulfilled her duties in the classroom, but never before had a 15-year-old debuted for the United States Women's National Team.

Hamm was a trailblazer, the youngest to ever play for her country. Appearing on the national stage was like a tremor, a precursor to something more groundbreaking. When Hamm arrived at North Carolina, her time in Chapel Hill produced one great moment after another.

Here's everything you need to know about Mia Hamm's playing career at North Carolina.

First, the TL/DR version:

  • Hamm is a 4-time NCAA national champion.
  • North Carolina won 92 games, lost once and tied twice during Hamm's career.
  • Hamm led college soccer in scoring during the 1990, 1992 and 1993 seasons.
  • Hamm was a three-time First Team All-America selection.
  • She won the MAC Hermann Trophy in 1992 and 1993, becoming the first two-time winner in the award's history.
  • Hamm owns the single-season record for points with 97 in 1992. She had 32 goals and 33 assists in 25 games.
  • Until 2019, Hamm held the NCAA tournament career points title with 41. She is still the tournament's all-time leading goal scorer with 16. 
  • Hamm ranks top 5 all-time in career points (278), career goals (103) and career assists (72)
  • Hamm redshirted the 1991 season in preparation of the 1991 Women's World Cup.
    • Teammate Kristine Lilly and coach Anson Dorrance also missed time due to the World Cup.
      • UNC went 24-0 and won the championship in 1991.

Mia Hamm's college stats and vitals

School: North Carolina 
Position: Forward
Height: 5-5
Years active: 1989-93
NCAA tournament record: 13-0

1989 23/18 113 21 4 46
1990 22/22 108 24 19 67
1992 25/21 117 32 33^ 97*
1993 22/22 97 26 16 68
Career 92/83 435 103 72 278

* – NCAA single-season record
^ – North Carolina single-season record


Hamm averaged 3.02 points per game in college, equating to a goal and an assist every time she stepped on the field. She never finished lower than second on North Carolina in scoring. During her final three seasons, Hamm led both the Tar Heels and the NCAA in points each time. Her highest scoring output came in 1992, when she registered 97 points in 25 games, an NCAA record. 

Losses were a premium at North Carolina between 1989 and 1993. UNC compiled a 92-1-2 record with Hamm on the pitch, winning four national championships as the Tar Heels posted two perfect seasons (1992, 1993) and another without a loss (1989). Following a single loss and the second of two draws, North Carolina and Hamm would win 56 consecutive games to conclude her career.


In four years, Hamm had six-point games in 13 matches, scored nine hat tricks and a trio of three-assist performances. Filling the scoresheet wasn't uncommon for Hamm, but it does make things more difficult when selecting her best college games. 

However, some of her best moments also came on the biggest stage. Here are some of Mia Hamm's best college games:

1990 NCAA tournament quarterfinal — 4-3 win vs. North Carolina State (2OT)

North Carolina twice trailed NC State in the quarterfinals of the 1990 NCAA tournament. Forward Kristine Lilly drew the Tar Heels level both times before Hamm facilitated the game-winning assist. In the closing minutes of overtime, Hamm curled a corner kick into the penalty area, finding teammate Rita Tower for the game-winning goal. North Carolina advanced, ultimately avenging its only loss of the season in the national final. 

1990 NCAA tournament national championship — 6-0 win vs. UConn

No more than two months earlier had UConn handed North Carolina its first loss since 1985. The Huskies won the regular season matchup, 3-2 in overtime, but a rematch in the national championship game was dominated by the Tar Heels. UNC romped to a 6-0 win as Hamm tallied a goal in the win.

1992 NCAA tournament national championship — 9-1 win vs. Duke

Hamm returned from the World Cup in 1992, helping UNC win its first 24 games. The Tar Heels had previously beat Duke twice and would play their ACC rival again, this time for a national championship. The Blue Devils scored first in the match before Hamm and the Tar Heels erupted for nine unanswered goals. Hamm found the back of the net three times, becoming the second player to record a hat trick in a national final.

1993 NCAA tournament national championship  — 6-0 win vs. George Mason

Hamm capped her career at North Carolina with a fourth national championship. The Tar Heels' win was their eighth consecutive title, a streak that began after George Mason beat UNC in the 1985 final. Eight years later, three points (one goal, two assists) from Hamm were more than enough to reverse roles as North Carolina rolled to a 6-0 win. She was named the tournament's offensive MVP for a second straight year.


Here are some of the awards Mia Hamm won in college:

  • ACC tournament MVP (1989, 1992)
  • All-ACC selection (1990, 1992-93)
  • ACC Player of the Year (1990, 1992-93)
  • First-team All-American (1990, 1992-93)
  • Honda Broderick Cup — National Female Athlete of the Year (1994)
  • MAC Hermann Trophy winner (1992-93)
  • Mary Garber Award — ACC Female Athlete of the Year (1993-94)
  • NCAA tournament champion (1989-90, 1992-93)
  • NCAA tournament Offensive MVP (1992-93)
  • NCAA Silver Award (2019)
  • Women's World Cup champion (1991)

What records did Mia Hamm set in college and where does she rank among historical greats?

Here are some of the records Mia Hamm set in college and where she ranks on all-time statistical lists:

  • A member of the 40-goal, 40 assist club: 103 goals, 72 assists
  • First in single-season scoring: 97 points (32 goals, 33 assists) over 25 games played in 1992.
  • Second in all-time scoring: 278 points
  • Three-time NCAA scoring champion (1990, 1992-93)
  • Tied for third in career goals: 103 goals
  • Fourth in single-season assists: 33 (1992) 
  • Fourth in career assists: 72
  • Fourth in career assists per game: 0.78
  • Fifth in single-season scoring per game: 3.88 points (1992)
  • Sixth in career points per game: 3.02
  • Tied for sixth in single-season assists per game: 1.32 (1992)
  • Tied for eighth in single-season goals: 32 (1992)
  • Ninth in career goals per game: 1.12

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