Welcome to The Thread, OZY’s chart-topping weekly podcast. In Season 5, we explore the history-making 1999 U.S. women’s football team and all of the unheralded athletes, policymakers and activists that created their journey possible. Subscribe now to follow The Thread on OZY.com, Spotify, Apple, Himalaya or where you prefer to stream your audio.
Who will forget once Brandi Chastain ripped off her jersey and waved it around her head in celebration after landing the game-winning penalty kick within the 1999 Women’s World Cup final? Male soccer players initiate their shirts to celebrate goals all the time, however, Chastain’s exuberance, and her sports bra, now became the talk of the nation. yet the terribly first U.S. women’s national soccer team had an even larger wardrobe downside after they initially took the sphere in 1985.
This week on The Thread, a podcast from OZY where we unravel the stories behind a number of the most vital lives and events in history, we hear the story behind the team that created the triumph of Chastain and the ’99ers possible. Back in 1985, there wasn’t a full heap of want for a U.S. women’s national soccer team. There was still no Women’s world cup, and also the sport wasn’t even within the Olympics. however that year, a group of American women was assembled to vie within the Mundialito, or little world cup, in Italy.
It was a whirlwind tour on a shoestring budget. The team practiced for just 3 days in Long Island before departing to compete against European teams like England and Italy with rather more international soccer experience. They got uniforms, but they weren’t women’s football uniforms — they were hand-me-down men’s uniforms. “The night before the team visited Italy, they were up late with their trainers,” says Caitlin Murray, a journalist and author of The National Team: the within Story of the women who modified football. “They had threads and needles, and they were cutting and sewing their outfits to make sure they actually fit them properly.”