- The 1999 Women’s World Cup was a thrilling chapter in the history of U.S. soccer.
- The Americans won the trophy on home soil after taking China to penalty kicks in the final.
- 20 years later, we look back on the players that built the team that won the tournament.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories
The 1999 Women’s World Cup remains one of the most seminal sporting events in American history.
The United States Women’s National Team, playing on home soil in front of a packed crowd at the Rose Bowl in California, gave women’s soccer a match for the ages, going all the way to penalty kicks against China.
U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry came up with a crucial save on China’s third penalty kick, clearing the way for Brandi Chastain to clinch the World Cup trophy with a shot from the spot.
The image of Chastain celebrating on the field afterward has since become one of the most iconic in women’s sports. With the 2019 Women’s World Cup kicking off in June, now is a great time to look back on the team that lifted the trophy 20 years ago.
Brandon Wiggins also contributed to this reporting.
Carla Overbeck was a defender and the captain of the 1999 team, as well as a seasoned veteran who had already won one Women’s World Cup, in 1991. She scored the first penalty kick for the American side.
Overbeck finished her career with more than 150 caps for the USWNT and is currently an assistant coach for the Duke Blue Devils women’s team.
Source: Go Duke
Joy Fawcett was a defender and another veteran of the 1991 World Cup team. She struck the second penalty kick of the final.
Fawcett racked up well over 200 caps total for the USWNT. She is currently an assistant for the U.S. Deaf Women’s National Team.
Source: U.S. Deaf Women’s National Team
Kristine Lilly was a midfielder and another long-time veteran of the USWNT, having played on the 1991 World Cup team. She struck home a third penalty kick for the Americans after extra time.
Lilly went on to set the all-time USWNT record for caps. She remains active in the game through coaching, and also founded Team First Soccer Academy with teammates Mia Hamm and Tisha Venturini Hoch.
The talisman of the USWNT, Mia Hamm was a forward who had already been a member of the 1991 and 1996 teams and scored over a hundred international goals. She made the fourth penalty kick.
Hamm retired in 2004. At the time, she held the record for most international goals scored in women’s soccer. She currently sits on the advisory board of A.S. Roma, and is also a part of the ownership group of LAFC in MLS.
Brandi Chastain was a USWNT veteran, a member of the 1991 World Cup team, and a defender who hit the winning penalty kick. Her subsequent celebration has become one of the defining images of women’s soccer.
Chastain, who retired from the USWNT in 2004, remains one of the most decorated players in the team’s history. In 2018, she was was inducted into the San Francisco Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
Briana Scurry was the starting goalkeeper for the USWNT. She came up with a crucial save during the penalty shoot-out to help clinch the World Cup win.
Scurry retired from the USWNT in 2008. She has since become a speaker and an advocate for concussion awareness in sports.
Julie Foudy was a central midfielder and long-time veteran of the USWNT, having played on the 1991 World Cup team. She played the entirety of the final.
Foudy is currently a writer and analyst for ESPN.
Kate Sobrero was a defender and relatively new addition to the USWNT at the 1999 World Cup, having first been capped the previous year. She played the entirety of the final.
She retired from the USWNT in 2010, with just over 200 caps. She currently works as a broadcaster for ESPN.
Tiffeny Milbrett was a forward and long-time veteran of the USWNT. She played virtually all of the final, being subbed off late in extra time.
She went on to reach 200 caps and 100 goals for the USWNT. She has since gotten involved with coaching at the youth level.
Michelle Akers was already an icon of women’s soccer by this point, having won the Golden Boot at the 1991 World Cup. She was substituted out of the final at the start of extra time.
Akers retired not long after the World Cup. She remains one of the most decorated players of all time, and was named “Player of the Century” by FIFA in 2000. She is also an avid supporter of horse rescue programs.
Cindy Parlow was a forward who was substituted out in the second half of the final.
She retired from international soccer in 2006. She later briefly coached the Portland Thorns in NWSL.
Source: Oregon Live
Shannon MacMillan was the USWNT’s ‘super-sub.’ Fittingly she came on for Parlow in the second half of the final.
MacMillan has since been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. She has worked as the executive director of a youth soccer club, and also joined an ownership group attempting to bring MLS to San Diego.
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune
Sara Whalen was a midfielder who came on for Michelle Akers in extra time.
Injuries derailed her career not long after, but she did go on to run the New York City Marathon, and is currently a psychologist.
Tisha Venturini was a midfielder and a former member of the 1996 Olympics team who came on late in extra time for Tiffeny Milbrett.
She founded and helps run Team First Soccer Academy alongside fellow former 1999 USWNT players Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly.
Source: Team First Soccer Academy
Tony DiCicco had already been the USWNT head coach for five years by the time of the 1999 World Cup, and led the team to a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics.
DiCicco left the USWNT coaching job after 1999, but remained involved with the game and the U.S. Soccer Federation. He passed away in 2017.
Now check out where some of the other greatest teams in recent memory have wound up:
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