Last Wednesday was the 14th anniversary of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals between the US and China – the most inspirational sporting event I ever remember watching/experiencing. I can so vividly recall watching this soccer game on television with my family. All of us were on the edge of our seats throughout the game. It was the type of game that could have been in a movie. After neither team scored in the first 90 minutes of the game, overtime also went by scoreless. The US then won the shootout 5-4. The celebration after the game was so amazing that it is hard to describe. Brandi Chastain took off her shirt after she kicked the final penalty shot, and the rest of the team rushed the field. Everyone else was screaming and waving American flags. It was fitting for such a perfect moment.
The passion the US women’s team had for the sport and their teammates was so evident for years leading up to the tournament, while they played all of the games and throughout the celebration after they won the championship. This game broke the attendance record for a women’s sporting event, a record that the game still holds, which is a testament to all of the fans they had before the game. After this game though, the members of this team were known as childhood heroes. When I told my cousin I was writing about this game, she said “every girl wanted to be Mia Hamm.” That was a perfect way of describing the effect of this game. I also thought that many girls had a new sense that dreams can come true with hard work.
Advertisements even displayed the impact the women’s soccer team had on sports and the perceptions of women athletes.
For their performance on and off the field, this soccer team will be thought of by many as being one of the greatest teams ever. I am sure that memories of this team and the final game of the 1999 World Cup will be remembered and talked about for many many years to come because of an amazing game and how their inspirational win changed women’s sports.
Until next time,