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Brandi Chastain Biography

Rose Bowl High Drama, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, It Went Down To The Wire


American soccer player

Brandi Chastain became one of the most recognizable figures in American sports when she scored the winning goal at the Women's World Cup soccer tournament final against China on July 10, 1999. In the excitement following her game-winning kick, Chastain whipped off her jersey, exposing her sports bra (which functions as a bra, but looks more like a suit top). The image of Chastain kneeling on the field shirtless, fists raised in victory, graced the covers of Sports Illustrated, Time, and Newsweek The game provided women's soccer in the United States a much-needed boost, drawing a record 40 million viewers.

Chastain, who grew up in San Jose, California, was inspired by George Best, the European Player of the Year who led Manchester United of England to the 1968 European Cup championship. Best ended his career in Chastain's hometown with the San Jose Earthquakes of the North American Soccer League.

Chastain led Archbishop Mitty High School to three consecutive state championships, then was Soccer American Freshman of the Year at the University of California, Berkeley. She had to sit out the next two seasons,

Brandi Chastain

however, after undergoing surgery to reconstruct ligaments in both knees.

Transferring to Santa Clara University in 1989, Chastain returned to soccer and was named First-Team NSCAA All-Far West. The following year, she made First-Team NSCAA All-American. She graduated from Santa Clara with a degree in television and communications.

Chastain made her professional debut on the U.S. national team in 1988, in a game against Japan. She scored her first international goal in April, 1991, against Mexico, scoring five in that game, and played for the 1991 World Cup champion, back when many fans were unaware such a tournament existed. Chastain played professional soccer in Japan for Skiroki Serena in 1993, and was named the team's most valuable player. Also that year, she was the only non-Japanese ranked among that league's top 11 players.

Cut from the 1995 World Cup team because her coach felt she wasn't in good enough shape, Chastain trained hard and switched positions, from striker to defender. She helped the U.S. women's Olympic team win the gold medal in Atlanta in 1996.

Sketch by Michael Belfiore

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsSoccer