When Brandi Chastain famously stripped off her jersey to celebrate her World Cup-winning penalty kick, the gesture represented not only the essence of athletic triumph but the joy of a competitor who knows how to play hard and still have fun. One of the most recognizable figures in women's sports, Chastain has been a member of the U.S. national team soccer team since 1988. Her team won the first women's world soccer championship in 1991 as well as Olympic gold medals in 1996 in Atlanta and 2004 in Athens.
In her book, IT'S NOT ABOUT THE BRA: How To Play Hard, Play Fair and Put the Fun Back into Youth Sports, Brandi uses the experiences from her storied career to discuss leaderships skills, role models, and giving back to one's team and community. Chastain also discusses both the good and bad ways she's personally dealt with adversity and reminds us what it truly means to be a "class act" on and off the field.
One of the most recognized figures in women’s sports, Brandi Chastain is well known for scoring the winning goal with her penalty kick during the final game in the 1999 Women’s Soccer World Cup game against China. The famous photo of Brandi Chastain celebrating by peeling off her shirt following her winning kick was featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated, TIME, and Newsweek. She was also a member of the U.S. teams that won the first women’s World Cup championship and the first women’s Olympic gold medal in soccer.
Brandi Chastain began her college career at University of California, Berkeley, where she was Soccer America’s national freshman of the year. She transferred to Santa ClaraUniversity, where she led the Broncos to two NCAA final four appearances and was named all-American and player of the year in 1990. She graduated with a B.A. degree in Television Communication.
Some of Brandi Chastain’s National Team experience includes being a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team that won the first FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in November 1991, playing every minute of the U.S.A.’s five matches and helping the team to win a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, and being a member of the silver-medal-winning team in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. She also helped the U.S.A. win their first-ever Goodwill Games gold medal in the summer of 1998, and played all six games in the 1999 Women’s World Cup, helping them win their second World Cup championship.
Although she played professionally in Japan in 1993 with the Shiroki Serena team, earning team MVP honors and becoming the only foreigner to be selected as one of the league’s top 11 players that season, Brandi Chastain remained a prominent figure in U.S. Soccer, playing on the gold-medal-winning West team at the 1993 Olympic Sports Festival.
In early 2001, Brandi Chastain became one of 24 founding players of the newly-formed Women’s United Soccer Association and was chosen to play for the Bay Area CyberRays, San Jose’s professional team. It marked the realization of her childhood dream of playing professional soccer at Spartan Stadium, where she was a North American Soccer League season ticket holder and grew to love soccer. Brandi Chastain and three other former Bronco team members earned the inaugural Founders Cup Championship that season. She was named the first ever “South Bay Area Sportsperson of the Year” in 2002.
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Greece marked both triumph and the final competitive appearance together for the five remaining players from the first World Cup championship team in 1991. Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Kristine Lilly, and Brandi Chastain were the last of the “old guard” to triumph in the 2004 gold medal game against Brazil.
In October of 2004, Brandi Chastain’s first book, It’s Not About the Bra: Play Hard, Play Fair, and Put the Fun Back Into Competitive Sports, was published. In her book, she delivers a wake-up call to competitive youth sports, drawing on anecdotes from her own career, as well as, those of her coaches and celebrated teammates. Brandi Chastain tackles the issues of sportsmanship, gamesmanship, and “parental involvement gone too far,” and writes about rediscovering respect for the players and the sports that they love.