July 14, 1999
MIA HAMM: This team has been tremendous. I think when you compete at this elite level what you have are a combination of 20 superstars and there comes a point in time, only 11 can play. If you don't feel secure in your role and what you are doing and the people that are around you and are playing in front of you or behind you, it is going to create a lot of tension on the team. I think one of our greatest strengths on a national team is our chemistry and it is something that I think is inherent in all of us as people, but it is something that we work on as well. It is a day-to-day process. The little things that you do; the things that you say; how hard you work for that player, because that is the first thing we say: You can make a difference, or you can show your teammates how much she cares when you go out and practice and you go 100%. If I am playing -- if Brandi and I are doing a drill, one v. one and I am going at Brandi at 75%, it doesn't prepare her to play against the Chinese team or it doesn't prepare her to play against the best attacking players in the world; and vice versa. If she is not going hard into tackles; if she is not playing honest defense, that doesn't help prepare me to play the best teams in the world. And that respect for each other and that chemistry just helps us. And I think you see it most when you are down 2 to 1 against Germany. Everyone is in the locker room saying: We are okay; we are fine; we worked too hard for this, or when you are going in PK's against China and you feel that you had some opportunities to put them away and you didn't do it, and everyone steps up and makes every shot, that is where chemistry comes into play, I think, is most apparent.
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I think the bottomline is that they won't make the same mistake twice. I think they have gotten a glimpse of what this team can do; the power it has to reach people; to bring families out to major stadiums across this country. I think also the fans did their job; we were all in this together. It wasn't just about this team. It was about all the soccer fans across this country; letting those people know -- letting the major networks know that they support us and that they need to put us on television and let more than just the people in the stands see the game.
Q. Does it bother you that they're made such a big deal about you taking off your shirt?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. If you are not a soccer traditionalist then you might not understand that that celebration is typical across this globe, from South America to Europe; that they have been known to pull their shirt off after a goal, is just kind of "in the moment" expression of their overjoyment of the goal. It is nothing more than that. People shouldn't read into it that Brandi's got a deal about some jog bra or that -- it is not about that. I am sorry that it has turned into that because it wasn't meant to be anything more than just a celebration. I appreciate people having their own opinions. I don't have to agree with it. They don't have to agree with me. But we can have differences and we can go on. I don't have to worry about that.
Q. Was it about showing your athleticism and how in-shape you are?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I never once thought about it until you and other people like yourself ask me. It didn't really play a part in it for me. It was just about being confident and strong and athletic and a woman and feeling good about myself. This soccer team, Mia's greatest, Julie, you know, this team didn't come together overnight. These people just don't pop up. I mean, it is not about something like -- it just doesn't work that way. This has been ten years in the making and we are very proud of what we are doing. I think everybody else out there should appreciate the work that has gone into it.
Q. Why is it the focus?
MIA HAMM: How much do you know about the game? That is why I am asking.
Q. I know a little bit about soccer.
MIA HAMM: I think that is pretty much what is going on here is not -- I think soccer is so new in this country that we are still educating people everyday. And a lot of the times because they don't know as much as they do about football or basketball, I mean, my goodness, Isaiah Rider, I remember almost the entire Portland Trail Blazers team with their shirts off at the end of the game, but it was never point of contention. They were celebrating. I don't think it had anything to do with male or female. I think it is because people understand the game of basketball a lot better than they understand the game of soccer. That is just going to take time. I think we understand that and, you know, we are growing just like you are growing. We are evolving just like you are. But I think a lot of it is this -- I don't want to call it ignorance, but this pretty much newness to soccer and I mean, people don't want to talk about stuff they don't know about. They want to talk about something that they do know about. I think for some people it is genuine and for other people it is just that they don't know much about the game so they can't talk about the tactical sides; the technical sides. So they focused on Brandi. (laughs).
Q. How has it affected the LPGA and women's sports?
MEG MALLON: Well, just from a personal level, just knowing these guys, I mean, we knew -- we did a Pro-Am in Daytona Beach and they were two people that followed us in the Pro-Am at Daytona Beach; they didn't even know who these guys were and what has happened to them in a month and a half, I am really happy for them, but I am kind of sad for them too because we are going to lose a little bit of them. For women's sports, in general, it was the greatest event, I think, of this decade; for women, in general, and all it does is push women's athletics forward. It helps the LPGA. It helps tennis. It helps basketball. It helps every aspect of women's athletics. I mean, Julie walks in the locker room and there is 30 players lined up to get her autograph. We have had celebrities and all sorts of people on our Tour and no one has ever done that before on our Tour. They have made quite an impact.
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I think another thing is we have mutual respect and admiration for one another. We understand what it is like to be on the road week after week; month after month; the time and effort that is put into make these great tournaments happen and to come up with the scores they come up with, I mean, these players are pretty damn impressive. I can't believe every time I go and watch them play it is like they amaze me every time. I think they feel the same way about what we are doing and so if we can spread that mutual admiration even to you guys I think that is what we are --
Q. What's your handicap?
JULIE FOUDY: Brandi is my handicap. (laughter). I think I pretty much pulled the team together today. I was hitting some fabulous shots - straight through the fence, one of them went onto the road. I am a great golfer. (laughs). No, I have about a 50 handicap, I think. But I make golf exciting. We make golf exciting, we play with these guys, it is like straight and long; straight and long. Try hitting behind five trees; then let's talk. (laughter).
Q. Is your husband caddying today?
JULIE FOUDY: He just came in to hang with me so he is here caddying for me today. He is sloppin for an amateur, so he wasn't very happy with that. He has only done it once for Beth.
Q. What can you do to continue soccer's popularity?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I think we do these types of events with our friends here and we keep preaching the word of soccer any chance we get. We have games that will be scheduled for us with U.S. Soccer, the U.S. Cup in the fall. We just have to keep promoting; getting the word out there ourselves. It is our responsibility, really. I think it has always lied upon our shoulders to make sure people know about our team. We haven't given that responsibility to anybody else. So we have to continue to do that. We are not going to let up just because we have won this World Cup and now we think it is going to be easy. It is going to be the same work ethic that has gone into it at this point.
Q. What did it feel like to be on the field at the culmination of all you have worked for?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I think it was the greatest place on earth at that moment. There is nothing like competition. Nothing like playing against the best and challenging your character and your spirit and all that you have put into your game. Mia and Joy and Christine and Carla gave me every bit of confidence I needed to step up and hit my penalty kicks because they had done it with such class and grace and skill that I couldn't have done anything else. To the 90,132 people that were in the stands, I thank them for being in the stands - Meg was one of them - I thank them very much for being there because without them it wouldn't have been the same.
Q. What about in the past, when no one knew who you guys were?
JULIE FOUDY: I think more of a frustration that you feel like you should be promoted more; you feel that you should be marketed more. And that has always been our battle with the Federation in the past is, look: We have got a gold mine of talent here and we feel like you can do more for this team in terms of letting the secret out. So with their decision to go huge with this World Cup, I mean, that was a revelation for the Federation because they'd always done things on a smaller scale for the women's side. And thank God they decided to take the risk because can you imagine if this event had been put on in a 5,000 seat stadium. So I think there is a bit of frustration not in the fact that we are frustrated with the media rather than the fact that we were frustrated with the Federation's decision to promote us. And that has obviously changed a lot and it has been fantastic over the last two, three years.
Q. What has Michelle done for your team and the game?
MIA HAMM: I think Michelle has done more for our game than anyone - in a lot of ways. I think first of all, her approach to the game, I think coming back from 1991 and even now, she has really taught us all to be professional in a time where we weren't. Just the way she carried herself and still carries herself and how she plays, I mean, Michelle is not a very vocal person unless she is around certain people and her team. But she always gives every ounce of herself when she is out there. It is inspiring. It is motivating. What she did for us this entire tournament and especially that last game is a legacy for all kids, for all of us. We can learn so much from that. When you have your moment, invest everything that you have into it. She left nothing out there. She is a champion in every sense of the word.
Q. What can young girls learn from you all?
JULIE FOUDY: I think one of the greatest messages with this tournament is that you can have dreams and they can be realistic. I think for a lot of young girls out there they have grown up watching guys play in front of great crowds and they thought that is great, but I will never be out there; I am not a guy. Now they are going to see women doing that. What a great message to them. And I think that the trail has been paved by a lot of other sports. Billie Jean King in the '70s when she took a lot of risks and decided for the WTA to go on its own. And that brought rewards. The LPGA starting 50 years ago - 50 years ago they started their league and they took a huge risk and look at the reward they got. So I think that is such a great message to kids with this whole World Cup: Take the risk because you are going to find that there are going to be rewards. When people tell you: "No," just smile say: "Yeah, I can," because I mean, look at what these guys have done on the Tour. They have done phenomenal things back when people said there is no way.
Q. Why get involved with the LPGA?
JULIE FOUDY: I think we have always supported other female athletes. Like Brandi talked about immediately when we met Meg and Beth a year ago there was a connection that you can't explain; a mutual respect and a bond there that is immediate and so for us to be a part of their event is a total honor. When I walked into the locker room today and they were all lined up with their stuff to sign. I said, this should be the way around, I said, I want you to guys to sign my stuff. I think it is just a mutual respect and you want each other to succeed. We have all gone through the same obstacles; we have all gone through the same past and people telling us "no" and yet, look at the success we have all had. You pull for each other.
Q. Has Briana Scurry been treated differently?
MIA HAMM: Not by anyone on this team. Bri is a tremendous person, tremendous athlete and we all have so much respect for her. One of the things we talk about in terms of Bri is we never take her for granted. And I know, regardless of what happens, Bri is going to be successful because of the person that she is. She is very driven; very motivated and very focused. For a position that she plays where she can be the hero or the goat with one shot, she seems to have been the hero a lot more times. Her rewards are out there and I think you are going to see her in a lot of places and deservedly so.
Q. How were you inspired by George Bess?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I think what those players gave me is what we are giving to these young kids is somebody to look to that has the same passion and the same flare for the sport of soccer. In the beginning there wasn't that many people that I could look to for that inspiration and George, specifically, gave me that. That he enjoyed scoring goals more than he enjoyed doing just about anything. He was so good at it that he made those other players look silly and I just couldn't believe how good he was. I think that kind of like when I look at these two playing golf it is like - they make it look so easy; yet it is the most difficult thing I think I have ever attempted. Physically it is just -- there is so much that goes along with it. I always appreciate the small things that they do because they are not that easy.
Q. What have you all done since Saturday?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: Sunday morning 6 o'clock Disneyland interviews for hours. Then the Parade; then to the airport for the red eye that was three hours delayed, so getting into New York at 4:45 and having to be in the lobby at 6 a.m. for the Good Morning America, Today Show, CNN, Fox, and then it is a blur after that. It is like -- so -- it has been very hectic, but very worthwhile and it has been a lot of fun. We are going to watch these guys play tomorrow.
Q. How did you get into the program?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I begged these guys to let me play.
MEG MALLON: We had already arranged for Mia and Julie to be in the Pro-Am and Julie called up being the co-captain that she is saying: Please, please, please, can Brandi get in the Pro-Am. I called up; they said, "sorry, we are full." So I went to the commissioner, I said: Can Brandi please, please, please play it. So Golf Magazine called back and said we would love to have Brandi and Brandi scores the winning goal. We are so happy that that happened, because she is a star in her own right. If Mia had six months to work on her golf game she would be a scratch golfer. That is what a great athlete she is. If Julie had six months she'd be in an insane asylum. (laughter).
JULIE FOUDY: I am good, I just don't want to scare them off the Tour. I don't want them to feel intimidated.
Q. Can you talk about the impact of Title IV?
JULIE FOUDY: I think a lot of us obviously reaped the benefits of the Channel 9. My senior year in college, I finally got a scholarship through Title. These guys got full rides and I decided to go to Stanford where they didn't have them at first. But, yeah, definitely and especially the younger kids coming through on the scene, they have all definitely benefited from all the opportunities available in scholarships so, yeah, we are huge proponents of it - talk about it a lot. Thank God every day that that law was passed back in 1972.
Q. How humbling is the game of golf?
MIA HAMM: I tell you what, the game or this course didn't care what we did on Saturday. That is how humbling it is. These guys are way too good.
Q. What made you want to play soccer?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I don't know what initially drew me to it. I think it is because my parents signed me up to be in a league that started in my neighborhood. I think from the first time I kicked the ball, I loved it. I think part of it was Mia was talking about earlier about team chemistry, the 19 players besides myself on this team are my best friends in the world. I go to them when I have problems; when I need somebody to lean on; they come to me for the same reasons. We enjoy spending time together. Any time we are a part from the team and then we get back together for a tournament or for training camp, it is like we jump around and hug each other and it is just we enjoy being together so much. I think that is what makes this team so special and soccer, in general, it is like I remember the greatest things about soccer when I was growing up was when I was spending the weekend with your best friends; having oranges at half time and having all the parents there. That is really what it is about. It is about families and community and spending time together.
Q. What is it like to go from being not many people recognizing you then to doing talks shows and doing interviews? Does it feel good or is it frustrating?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I don't think frustrating is the right word. I am new to this. Mia probably knows much more about this than I do, but in my short experience it is very difficult to give everybody what they want all the time. And I think what we need to -- people outside of here need to understand that we are human; that we can only spend so much time signing autographs or doing interviews; that we need time to spend with our friends, our families, by ourselves, everybody needs to be able to recuperate and you know, just to be mentally clear and just to be really able to take it all in. I think we do a pretty good job of reaching as many people as we can. We understand that there is only 24 hours in the day and that we have to do what we need to do to take care of ourselves first and hopefully people will understand that. If they don't, then I am sorry for that. And we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but we have to take care of us first.
Q. How can people learn more about soccer?
MIA HAMM: Have you read my book? (laughter) no, teasing. I think like anything time is the best -- will give experience to people. I think for the 40 million people that watched this game, they took away what -- these personalities; what soccer is about; the intensity level. I try and tell young kids that they should get involved; spend as much time with your team and just with the ball as you can. Every moment can be a learning experience and the closer you can become to -- you can spend with the ball and all the things, the better you will be and the more you will understand what it is like to be at this level. It is not that easy. I think what we just need to do is have more games; allow more fans to come and watch; try and spread ourselves out to as many people as we can in our own communities first and then you will see all those communities come together.
BRANDI CHASTAIN: It is similar to -- I mean, when you first watched football for the first time, did you know what was going on? I mean, it takes time. It takes participation and it takes exposure.
Q. How about that track and field star who wants to do a nude calendar?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: I surely didn't want to attract debate, that is for sure. People do things for different reasons and there is -- maybe she feels that is good for her sport and maybe I think what you will see in the photos - I am sure you are going to get that calendar, check it out, because you are going to write a story on it - is that you see a powerful, graceful woman. It is like art. It is like dancing. The gentleman who did the photo for Gear Magazine is incredible photographer. He has done movie stars. He has done ballet dancers and I have seen his work. I was very impressed with what he can put into a picture - emotions and things that you really can't touch. Like I said, earlier people will have their opinion and that is their right. What really matters is how that woman feels about herself when she goes to sleep at night, nothing else.
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