ST. LOUIS – Jan. 9, 2013 – Considered the best female soccer player in history, Mia Hamm has inspired millions of young athletes.  This Saturday in St. Louis, she takes on the task of inspiring their parents and coaches.

Hamm is the featured speaker at the St. Louis Youth Sports Summit, a free event organized by the St. Louis Sports Commission and its Sportsmanship Initiative.  The Summit is held for youth sports parents, coaches and league administrators to give them valuable tools, knowledge and resources that help kids enjoy and stay involved in sports.  Sessions are led by national and local experts addressing timely and relevant topics.  The Summit takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Maryville University’s auditorium.  Those who wish to attend should register at www.sportsmanship.org or by calling 314-345-5130.

Hamm’s participation in the program is scheduled from 9 to 9:30 a.m.  She will be interviewed as part of a question-and-answer session by D’Marco Farr, former St. Louis Ram and host of 101 ESPN’s Fast Lane show.  The interview will address Hamm’s illustrious career as well as her advice for adults in mentoring young athletes and paving the way for them to be successful in life.  The two-time World Cup champion is also in St. Louis to speak at the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Banquet on Friday night.

In addition to Hamm’s keynote conversation, Youth Sports Summit attendees will have the chance to participate in several valuable breakout sessions.  Topics include sports parenting, teaching character in sports, coaching to make a positive difference, concussions, and how to integrate the sportsmanship programs offered by the Sports Commission into a youth sports organization.

“If you’re a youth sports coach, parent or league administrator, this is a must-attend event,” said Solomon Alexander, director of the Sports Commission’s affiliated Sports Foundation and Sportsmanship Initiative.

A driving force for the Summit is the statistic that 70 percent of children quit organized sports by age 13.  “We want to change that in St. Louis because kids who participate in sports reap wonderful benefits like character-building values and a decreased risk of obesity,” Alexander said.  “They also tend to achieve higher results in school and develop excellent interpersonal skills.  The Youth Sports Summit helps coaches and parents create positive sports environments that make sports fun and keep kids involved in athletics.”

The St. Louis Youth Sports Summit is a program of the Sports Commission’s Sportsmanship Initiative, which informs and inspires those involved in youth sports.  The Initiative seeks to make St. Louis a model community for good sportsmanship and create positive environments for kids to play sports so they remain active and lead healthier, happier lives.  Through several innovative platforms, the Sports Commission reaches out to coaches, parents, fans and young athletes to make youth sports more enjoyable and to reinforce the values of respect, civility, selflessness and integrity at all levels.