1999 U.S. women's World Cup champs honored with statue at Rose Bowl

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Rose Bowl dedicated a statue to the 1999 U.S. women's World Cup champion team. The statue was unveiled on the 20th anniversary of what's considered a watershed moment in women's sports.

It was July 10, 1999, when soccer player Brandi Chastain nailed the kick that cinched the World Cup victory for the U.S women's team.

The statue captures the moment Chastain dropped to the field and pulled off her jersey in celebration.

"On July 10th, 1999, before a record crowd of 91,000 people, a group of American women, pioneers in their sport, took to the Rose Bowl field and defeated China in a match for the ages," said Marla Messing, the former CEO and president of U.S. Soccer 1999.

The unveiling was especially timely as the 2019 U.S. women's soccer team celebrated its own recent World Cup victory.

"Without the work done by the 1999 women's World Cup team, victory in 2019 simply would not have been possible," said Pasadena City Council Member Margaret McAustin.

Brandi Chastain spoke on behalf of her team members at the unveiling ceremony.

"The memory of '99 and that team, the backdrop, to me, is really what its about. It's the celebration of an amazing World Cup but also a celebration of women who are strong, who are passionate. We knew what we wanted and we went after it," she said.

The statue honoring the 1999 World Cup champions commemorates that moment, reminding Rose Bowl visitors how the team paved the way for other female athletes and continues to inspire the young to do the same.

Ten-year-old soccer player Lizeth Gonzalez couldn't agree more.

"I think it's actually really amazing because women's sports hasn't been really that important until that winning point won us this amazing moment for women to shine," she said.

On Aug. 3, the 2019 U.S. women's soccer team will kick off their World Cup Victory tour at the Rose Bowl, on the same field the 1999 team made history.
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