SAN FRANCISCO—Two time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Brandi Chastain was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Friday, March 24.
“Thank you, not just for today but for every day that you gave me the chance to play for the women’s national team, and for having the confidence in me and the guts to tell me I wasn’t going to be a forward,” Chastain told the Associated Press.
A native of San Jose, Chastain, 48, began playing soccer at age 8. She played for the boys’ team at Davis Junior High School before attending Archbishop Mitty High School and playing in three successive state championships.
Chastain later played as a forward for UC Berkeley for one year before transferring to Santa Clara University prior to the 1989 season. During her career with the Broncos, she helped earn the team a record of 18-1-1 in 1990, during which she scored 10 goals during the regular season and became a national scoring leader after earning 50 points (22 goals).
The now-retired soccer star sat down with ABC 7 reporters on Friday. She gained recognition after winning the 1999 Women’s World Cup at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, when her penalty kick won a shootout for that season’s title. After the match, Chastain ripped off her jersey and “etched herself into sports history.” That year, she appeared on the covers of “Time,” “Newsweek,” and “Sports Illustrated.” She noted that moment “catapulted me into a place that allows me to do the things that are most important to me.”
Chastain then expressed her support for women’s athletics and her desire to bring the public’s attention to soccer.
“Our country has really started to come around to this great sport and watch it in a way they’ve never watched it before.” She then shared that, upon retiring, the transition from playing to coaching was “difficult.”
“The empowerment you give to these young people, to be able to stand on their own two feet — have a voice, make decisions, make mistakes, get up, fight on, put their arm around their teammate,” she said of her coaching career.