Women in sports

11.10.13

Brandi Chastain Talks Title IX

And reliving her career highlights.

The soccer star and World Cup champ talked to The Daily Beast about her new partnership with YesVideo, her greatest game ever, and the importance of teaching girls their history when it comes to women in sports.

So what's the new project with YesVideo?

I walked into Costco to see if I could get some tapes transferred over to discs that I could take on a trip that I was making with the State Department to Brazil, to try to encourage their local governments to encourage their girls to play soccer. And finding out that it took too long for what I needed. So they gave me the address and I just showed up on the doorstep of YesVideo and today I have the tapes.


What are some of the memories that you rediscovered on the tapes?

Oh my gosh. Videos of me as a young girl playing soccer, my family at birthday parties, soccer videos with the national team. I still have multiple tapes that I need to have transferred, but those are times that now I get to share with my son. My son is seven and unfortuantely my parents passed away before he was born, so now I get to show him real live video of them. And for me, that's been amazing. Because I can tell him all about them, but allowing him to see them is really a true gift.

 

Tell us about some of the soccer moments on the tapes.

There are games that I played with the national team, interactions with players off the field. All the memories are really special...the games are really great, and you remember those games when you're a kid, but really the thing that stays with you the longest are the moments off the field. And the reasons why you enjoyed playing are because you got to be with your friends, all the fun and laughter that you had together. For me, it's those memories of Mia [Hamm] and Julie [Foudy] and Kristine [Lilly] that make my memory of soccer so wonderful. But there's a lot of being goofy, being embarrasing. In hotel rooms, on the bus, before games. We had to spend a lot of time away from our families, so the time that we spent together, we became each other's families and sisters. It's those things—you have a picture of somebody on the field, but then you get to see them off the field, which is why I love these memories.

 

Do you stay in touch with the team or have you gone your separate ways?

Oh no, we're still close. We all text each other—now, everybody has kids, so we're all preoccupied with being moms, for the most part—but we're lifetime friends. And when we need support or have a question about something, just like when we were on the field, we're each other's go-to group. And for me, why I love looking back on it, not only did my greatest moments happened with these fields, but being the person I am now, the person I'm happy I am now, is because of these people.

 

Do your own kids play soccer?

I have an older son who is a third-year law student, and he played high-school soccer and continues to play soccer, and my seven-year-old is in his first real season of soccer and scored his first goal a couple of weekends ago.

 

What was it like to watch him do that?

For me, the best part of it was—well, I was very proud of the way he scored. Because we work on how to kick the ball properly, and he did. But really, the most priceless part—and I'm mad at myself, because here we are, talking about how to put things on video and keeping them, and I didn't have a camera—when he scored, he turned around like, 'What just happened?' And then he jumped up and down, it was so cute. I'll never forget that—it was pretty priceless.

 

What was your all-time favorite game?

That is a tough one—but I do have a memory, I think from when I was 11. And I scored a left-footed goal, just a blistering volley of a goal. And it may have been the first time I think I really hit the ball the right way. And it just felt like it was on a line and it had fire shooting out of the back of it. That's how it felt to me as an 11-year-old. And I can close my eyes and see that. I mean, I've scored—I don't even know how many goals I scored with the national team, and I can't say I remember them all. But I remember that goal. I remember the field, I remember what my grandfather was wearing, and I remember the opponents, because they were our fiercest rivals at the time. And I just remember thinking, 'That was awesome!'

 

We've talked alot about encouraging girls in sports. For you, what was it like to see all those girls who turned out to cheer for you during the '99 World Cup, and to see that women's soccer is such a huge sport in the states now? What was it like to be a part of making that history?

I'm so proud. Proud to have been part of a group of women who got the big picture first. It was never about the individual, it was always about the team. And it was always about the growth and development of the game, and where the game would be when we were finished. It's fascinating and it's amazing that we had a group of people who understood that. Of course, to see where the women's national team is, and to see the countless number of girls playing soccer, is amazing. You have to look back and you still have to remind girls, and you have to remind moms and dads, that there's a law out there called Title IX that makes everything possible. And we can't forget that. Because unfortunately, there's always somebody who's going to try to take something away. And Title IX under the Bush Administration almost went away. So we have to know our history, we have to know what things like Title IX do for young girls and the opportunities it affords them, and we have to make sure these young girls understand and protect that. And I know that sounds kind of heavy, but I think if you lose sight of where you came from, you don't appreciate exactly what you have. So I want young girls to continue to appeciate what they have by knowing, and taking care of, and being responsible for it. In a good way, in a healthy way.