Brandi Chastain        

Defender on the U.S. Women's 1999 World Cup Champion Soccer Team

Brandi Chastain, is a former soccer player, who was on the U.S. women's national soccer team from 1991 to 2004 and the San Jose CyberRays of the WUSA (2001-2003). Brandi, "Hollywood" to her teammates, made her national team debut in 1988, as a 19-year-old reserve forward. She scored her first international goals in 1991, coming off the bench to net five against Mexico in a qualifying match for the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup. She also made the World Cup roster, joining the other "91ers" on the field for two games, including one as a starterShe is best known for her game-winning penalty kick against China in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final and her bra-baring celebration afterwards.

She attended Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California, helping take the team to three section championships. In 1986 Chastain was awarded the Soccer America Freshmen Player Of The Year award at the University of California-Berkeley. Soon after, she underwent reconstructive surgery on both knees which caused her to miss much of the 1987 and 1988 seasons. She transferred to Santa Clara University, leading them to two Final Four NCAA appearances before she graduated in 1991.

Chastain first represented her country on April 18, 1991, against Mexico. She came off the bench as a forward to score five consecutive goals in a 12-0 United States win in a CONCACAF FIFA Women's World Cup. Team USA went on to win the World Cup, staged in China.

After that first World Cup, she played club soccer for one season in Japan in 1993, earning team MVP honors and was the only foreigner to be selected as one of the league's top 11 players.

As a defender, she made the U.S. National team again in 1996 and participated in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, helping the Americans win the gold medal by playing every minute of every U.S. game, despite a third serious knee injury suffered in the semifinal against Norway. Of her 192 career caps, she played 89 primarily at defender during which she occasionally played midfielder.

On July 10, 1999 at the Women's World Cup at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, after scoring the fifth penalty kick to give the United States the win over China in the final game, Chastain celebrated by peeling off her jersey and falling to her knees in a sports bra, her fists clenched. This image was featured on the covers of TIME, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated.

Chastain's take on the incident was "Momentary insanity, nothing more, nothing less. I wasn't thinking about anything. I thought, 'This is the greatest moment of my life on the soccer field.'"

Brandi Chastain has been one of the women's national team's most accomplished defenders since 1996, but created the defining moment in women's soccer by scoring a goal. Her medal-clinching penalty kick against China in the 1999 Women's World Cup final, and joyously uninhibited jersey-waving celebration, brought her team and her sport into the international spotlight.

With the rest of her World Cup teammates, she was instrumental in forming the Women's United Soccer Association, and led the San Jose CyberRays to the inaugural WUSA Founder's Cup championship in 2001. With the Women's National Team, she has played in three Olympics (counting Athens) and three Women's World Cups, and intends to keep going, at least until she collects her 200th cap. She had 179 entering the Athens Games, sixth on the team's all-time caps list.

Soccer has been Brandi's passion since childhood, when she would sleep in the uniform of her first youth team, the Quakettes. Although she has battled nagging injuries for the past several years, including a broken foot that knocked her out of the 2003 Women's World Cup after just half a game, Brandi remains a cornerstone of the U.S. defense at middle or left back. Off the field, her unflagging optimism, resilience and enthusiasm for the game she has loved since childhood have made her a favorite of her teammates and soccer fans alike.

Chastain's take on the incident was "Momentary insanity, nothing more, nothing less. I wasn't thinking about anything. I thought, 'This is the greatest moment of my life on the soccer field.'"

Chastain played on the San Jose CyberRays in the Women's United Soccer Association from its formation in 2001 until its suspension in 2003. She played on the US women's national team until her last game on December 6, 2004.

She appeared in the HBO documentary Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team.

She was a broadcaster with ABC/ESPN on their coverage of Major League Soccer.

Chastain's website and her book about women's competitive sports are titled It's Not About the Bra.

She posed nude except for soccer cleats and a strategically-placed soccer ball in the lad's mag Gear.

Chastain served as an analyst for NBC Sports coverage of Soccer at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

She currently lives in Santa Clara, California, where her husband, Jerry Smith, is the women's soccer coach at Santa Clara University.

News


Soccer icon Brandi Chastain agrees to donate brain for concussion research

Brandi Chastain, whose iconic celebration at the 1999 Women’s World Cup became a lasting symbol of power and success in women’s sports, announced Thursday morning that she has decided to donate her brain after death to the Concussion Legacy Foundation to be studied by the renowned Boston University CTE program.

Related Speakers View all


More like Brandi