Mama Mia! (and grandma, brother and sister-in-law)

The world was watching Mia Hamm as she helped the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team clinch the World Cup Saturday. The celebration in her honor continued at the La Costa Beach Club Sunday as friends and family gathered to savor her hard-fought victory.

“She’s such a role model for young women, such an inspiration,” said sister-in-law Stephanie Hamm. “She’ll never have to look back.”

A contingent of about 120 members of the Hamm family and their friends from across the country made the pilgrimage to Pasadena to watch Hamm’s day in the sun. “It was a real nail biter, a real white knuckler,” said grandmother Carol Dillon, “but the team played flawlessly.”

The guest of honor had a busy day away from the beach — three press conferences had been scheduled, and the international sports media was calling. Instead, the group celebrated a family birthday. But Hamm’s triumph was never far from their minds.

Bill Hamm watched his sister’s rise from high school to college to the big leagues and even helped with a little coaching along the way. “She was always a good athlete,” he recalls, “but soccer was really her specialty.”

This weekend Hamm proved that observation an understatement, making the World Cup the most-watched women’s athletic event in history and giving her large and very loving family a day they would never forget.

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