Today. At 5:00 pm California time, the US Women’s soccer team will have a friendly match against Belgium. You are probably thinking, yeah. What’s the big deal? Well the big deal is, that at half-time the ’99 Women’s team that won the World Cup will be honored. How cool is that? Nearly every player from that team will be there. I am going to list them for you…. in case you forgot…
Briana Scurry, Tracy Noonan, Saskia Webber, Christie Pearce, Brandi Chastain, Sara Whalen, Joy Fawcett and Kate Sobrero, Tiffany Roberts, Lorrie Fair, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Tisha Venturini, Michelle Akers, Shannon MacMillan, Mia Hamm!!
Carla Overbeck and Tiffeny Milbrett wont be there.
As I read this, I became really nostalgic, you see, I had soccer playing daughters during those years, and those names were thrown around like confetti in our household. We broke our “no TV’ ban and signed up for cable – just to watch the World Cup. We spent glorious summer days indoors in a darkened room watching these matches together no matter how sunny or breezy it was. Soccer, and that team, The 99ers by extension became part of the DNA that is our family.
But seriously. That tenuous last game. The one where they won the World Cup. In a shoot out. After a level and scoreless game and TWO overtimes. The game they won by ONE point, the one where Brandi Chastain ripped her shirt off and made sports bras acceptable day time wear, is seriously one of the most exciting and memorable soccer games I have ever watched. We were simply awed and dazzled! I mean, I am having a little thrill right now just thinking about it.
So I hurried through chores to watch the game. At halftime, as each player was honored and introduced I will admit I got a little teary. I would recognize those women anywhere – 20 years of aging or not. And there they stood, together again. Each one strong looking and beautiful and those summer days came flooding back. My Sarah, strong and beautiful too, wanting to be “number nine” like Mia Hamm, wanting to go to North Carolina like Mia Hamm, playing her heart out like Mia Hamm.