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Cindy Parlow Cone: Just who is US Soccer’s new president?

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Mia Hamm was always one of the most intimidating players in soccer, hypercompetitive to a fault, the owner of a death stare that could reduce opponents and teammates alike to a puddle of flop sweat.

But it was never that way for Hamm with her U.S. teammate Cindy Parlow. It wasn’t that Parlow was a big talker, but while most of Hamm’s younger teammates were scared to say a critical word to the superstar, Parlow wouldn’t hesitate. On one occasion, Hamm remembers being called offside and yelling at teammate Julie Foudy.

“You just need to play the ball!” Hamm bellowed at Foudy.

Parlow wasn’t having it. She turned to Hamm and countered: “You just need to stay onside!”

“That’s just a simple thing,” Hamm told Sports Illustrated this week, “but there are a lot of off-field moments where I would make a statement, and [Parlow] is like, ‘Really? Do you really think that way? Have you thought hard about that?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my god, no, I haven’t.’

“Cindy was always incredibly, painfully honest with you,” Hamm continued. “She didn’t sugarcoat stuff, especially when you needed to hear it. And I appreciated that as a friend and a teammate. It was always from the perspective that she cared and wanted to make me better. That made us closer as friends and made me trust her even more, because she wasn’t going to tell me what I wanted to hear.”

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