Twenty years to the day after the U.S. Women’s National Team captured soccer’s World Cup in a dramatic penalty-kick shootout at the Rose Bowl, a monument was unveiled outside the stadium Wednesday honoring a victory hailed as a watershed moment for women’s athletics.
The 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup was hosted by the United States, with the final match held at the Rose Bowl between the United States and China. After the game ended in a scoreless tie, the teams went into a penalty kick shootout. Brandi Chastain hammered home the winning goal for the United States, and in an iconic celebration, she ripped off her shirt and slid to her knees on the Rose Bowl turf.
It was the second time the United States had won the title, but Chastain’s memorable celebration in a home-country stadium reverberated in the sports world and sparked a surge in interest and participation in women’s sports.
The monument unveiled Wednesday outside the Rose Bowl depicts Chastain in her victory celebration.
According to the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, which installed the monument, the moment “inspired a global generation of young female athletes to strive for equality and greatness.” The foundation noted the 1999 victory “will forever be iconic with female athletics on a global scale.”
Chastain was on hand for the monument unveiling.
“When I think about this moment and I think about that ’99 team, a few words come to mind: friendship, teamwork, grit, competitiveness, laughter, love, strength, resiliency and ultimately inclusion,” Chastain said. “And I feel that that last word is where we are now — that everybody is part of the conversation. Male, female, race, religion, experience, no experience. We all matter. And like (current USWNT star) Megan Rapinoe said today … we all can be better.
“And I think being a part of the 1999 team, we were challenged every day to be better. And we weren’t asked that by our coaches, but by each other. And I feel like that type of commitment is what made us as strong as we possibly could have been.”
The unveiling coincided with a victory parade held in New York Wednesday celebrating the United States’ victory in this year’s Women’s World Cup — the fourth overall for the country. The team is expected to be in Los Angeles Wednesday night for the ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater.
The team will begin a five-match Victory Tour when it takes on Ireland Aug. 3 at the Rose Bowl.
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