10 Years Later

31 08 2009


I can’t believe that this picture was taken 10 years ago


July 10, 1999 – the US Women’s World Cup soccer team beat China in a shoot-out. And the sports bra was never the same.

10 years? How did time go by so quickly? I know I might be dating myself – but 10 years ago, I was still in college, Clinton was President and cell phones were the size (and weight) of bricks. ( GAWD! I realize I am sounding like my parents – still talking about the 70s like “it’s yesterday” as my brother and I roll our eyes. After looking at pictures of my parents skiing during 70s for my entire life, I just realized the the “coral and orange one-piece ski suit” was actually being worn by my father. Please tell me this is not hereditary.)

But I digress- July 10, 1999 was one of the biggest (IF not the biggest) moments in women’s sports history. And where are we 10 years later? What is the state of women’s soccer today?

Riding of the high of the World Cup victory, a women’s soccer league was assembled in the summer of 2000. The Women’s United Soccer Association started in spring of 2001, and lasted only three seasons. It’s estimated that $100MM was invested (and lost) – and the only thing left is this website.

During the World Cup, the largest stadiums in the US were filled to watch women’s soccer. These women were used to playing in front of a few thousand, but to enter Solider Field to a sold out 55,000?! You could see the marketing executives drooling. This type of attendance was an anomaly, but WUSA officials estimated attendance of 10-15K per game, even in markets like San Jose and North Carolina.

The 1999 Women’s World Cup was a syzygy of many things – a tournament hosted every 4 years being played on US soil – young, attractive, down to earth players (aka – MARKETABLE) -and “soccer moms”.  As soccer moms’ warm embrace of Slick Willy was waning; they were looking role models for their young Title IX-entitled daughters. Nike and Procter & Gamble answered the call – MIA HAMM.


The veteran of the 1999 Women’s World Cup team was Michelle Akers. No doubt, Michelle is one of the best players to ever play the game. But women’s soccer needed their MJ, their Tiger – and Mia Hamm was quickly anointed. Mia Hamm was the main marketing tool for success. She was young, a threatening goal scorer, and didn’t have an afro.

Where are the stars of the 1999 team now?Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain & Julie Foudy retired in 2004. Since then they have all gone on to start foundations and families. Kristine Lilly hasn’t officially retired, but did have a child last year. They have all moved onto the next phase of their lives, and we are grateful for what they did for soccer and the sports bra….


...and the soccer ball

...and the soccer ball




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31 08 2009


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