"We were the caretakers of all of women's soccer globally," Brandi Chastain said of her 1999 team

By Claudia Harmata
July 11, 2019 01:30 PM
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It’s been 20 years since the U.S. women’s national team won the 1999 Women’s World Cup, changing the course of women’s soccer.

On Wednesday — as the world celebrated the current USWNT and their 2019 World Cup win in New York City with a ticker tape parade and City Hall ceremony — a statue honoring the 1999 team was unveiled in Pasadena, California, CBS News reported.

The statue recreates the iconic moment when Brandi Chastain scored the winning penalty kick in the Rose Bowl game against China, dropping to her knees and stripping down to her sports bra to celebrate.

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Roberto SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty

“The great thing about our team is that we believed that it could happen, and so we were working relentlessly on the field to be the best product, give a lot of entertainment value while striving for the success of winning the World Cup,” Chastain told Now This in a recent interview about her 1999 teammates.

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She explained that at the time of their win, they were similarly facing incredible pressure, with some saying women’s soccer would never bring in the same amount of revenue and viewership as men’s.

“We were the caretakers of all of women’s soccer globally, like I say the future of women’s soccer,” she told the outlet. “In all honestly it could have been that dire. For the U.S. not to advance to the final and not to win could have been disastrous for even what we’re doing for today.”

RELATED VIDEO: Megan Rapinoe Says ‘There’s a Part in This for Everybody to Do’ in Women’s Soccer Wage Gap Fight

Their game broke the record for the highest attendance of a women’s sporting event at the time, with 90,185 fans in the stands, and had an estimated 40 million viewers in the U.S. alone. It was a milestone for women’s sports.

Chastain was present at the unveiling, posing with the statue, and echoing Megan Rapinoe’s speech from earlier that day in New York City.

“Like Megan Rapinoe said today … We can all be better,” she said, CBS News reported.

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