Thursday, July 10, 2014

15th Anniversary of USA Winning the 1999 Women's World Cup

Brandi Chastain Celebrating The Win
It's hard to believe 15 years have gone by, but July 10, 2014 marks the 15th Anniversary of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final between the United States and China, which the USA won on Penalty Kicks in front of over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl. Brandi Chastain lined up to take the 5th kick, with a chance to win the World Cup for the United States after Briana Scurry had made a save of China's 3rd kick. It seemed like everyone in the country was glued to the final, including President Clinton who was practically falling out of his seat.

Chastain had missed a PK against China earlier in the year that saw China beat the US at the Algarve Cup. She had also been cut from the team for the 1995 Women's World Cup and had to work her way back for the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. The player who had been cut a few years earlier, now had the fate of the US resting on her foot. She nailed the kick and fell to the ground after ripping her jersey off, her sports bra celebration becoming the defining moment in US Soccer history. The hugely successful tournament that filled football stadiums and got millions of TV viewers redefined soccer in America, becoming the talk of the summer of 1999. Since that time, soccer has continued to grab headlines in America for big tournaments.
It was of course a big moment for Women's team sports as well, which until this event were mostly looked over. Female athletes only got attention in individual sports such as tennis, gymnastics, swimming, track & field and figure skating. Then players like Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastian became household names, and did it in a sport that had been looked over in the United States even when it came to men. We've never looked back, as soccer remains a force in the United States.

Also of note, the USA Women in 1999 are the last home team to win a World Cup with the Brazil men now failing to do so in 2014. France is the last men's team to do so, in 1998 and along with the US Women are just the only two to do it after Argentina in 1978.

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