GREENSBORO — Mia Hamm had a message for anyone who wanted to listen, people like those who attended the annual Executive Women’s Day function at Sedgefield Country Club, and the kids who circled around her outside the club, clinging to every word she had to say about soccer, and school and life.
And also to someone who wasn’t there at all.
Hamm, who played at the University of North Carolina, is still the most recognizable name in American soccer, male or female. Solo could learn a lot from Hamm, who played for two Olympic gold medal teams, two World Cup title teams and four NCAA championship teams at Carolina.
Hamm will play in the pro-am at the Wyndham Championship on Wednesday.
Asked if she even cared what Solo had to say about anything, Hamm made it clear Tuesday that yes, she does.
“I do care because she represents our country,” Hamm said. “She represents our national team.”
Solo did not have a good week at the Olympics in Rio, arriving to jeers from the thousands of soccer fans who didn’t take kindly to her Twitter jokes about the Zika virus. She ended her week by calling the Swedish team “a bunch of cowards” after the United States lost to Sweden.
There’s been an international backlash.
Hamm said she hopes the next time, if there is a next time, Solo would think before she opens her mouth.
“I understand that this is not how she wanted it to end and that she had aspirations of winning the gold medal,” Hamm said. “But at the same time, you need to be humble in victory and defeat. I’m hoping, of it ever happens again, that she regrets what she did and she gets better moving forward.”
Hamm’s week at the Wyndham began as the keynote speaker at the Executive Woman’s Day presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, an annual event that attracts business leaders from the Triad.
Later in the day, she visited the Margaritaville hut to meet and greet young soccer players. She said the executive forum was something that taught her a lot. The kids, on the other hand, were more curious to learn about who she was.
“It’s always great seeing how excited these young players are about the game,” Hamm, 44, said. “I do feel aged because I hear a lot of ‘my mom watched you play,’ or ‘my mom played against you.’ So, knowing that my daughters are of that age, it brings you back to reality.”