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Hall of Fame Spotlight - Linda Hamilton (2001)


In 1978, eight year old Linda Hamilton began her soccer career in New Orleans. Like many women in this time, she played alongside the boys until she reached the 14U age group. Hamilton relocated to Georgia ahead of her freshman year of high school and played not only soccer, but basketball, tennis and track as well. In addition to playing soccer for her school, Hamilton played for the Buckhead YMCA and the DeKalb Soccer Association at Blackburn Park.

Hamilton ventured into international play when she joined . the 19U USSF National Team which made it to the finals, only to be beaten by Norway's National Team. This didn't knock her down at all, however, and shortly after Hamilton made the full USSF National Team, alongside Judy Foudy, Joy Fawcett and Mia Hamm.

From 1989 to 1991, Hamilton played for North Carolina State University before transferring t o University of North Carolina for her 1992 senior season. She received All-American and All ACC recognition during all four years of college and was simultaneously a member of the aforementioned USSF National Team which kept her on the international stage. The culmination of her time on this team came in 1991 when the team was awarded the gold medal in the first Women's World Cup. Each member of the team was then also awarded a Medal of Honor by the US National Soccer Hall of Fame.

By 1995, Hamilton had made 71 US National Team appearances. Unfortunately, an unforseen knee injury and subsequent surgery forced her into an early retirement from the game at age 26. 

Life after soccer brought Hamilton into the workplace using her knowledge of French in a leadership position in International Customer Service at Overnight Trucking Service in Raleigh, NC. She also, despite her injury, earned a USSF A Coaching License and coached a 17U Athena team as well as an Olympic Development Program (ODP) for the Virginia Youth Soccer Association.

In 2001, Hamilton was inducted into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame.