The winning culture of the USWNT spans three decades
How the '99ers' changed the game
They analyse the '19ers' before their Final against the Netherlands
The USWNT culture is etched in every single player that has ever sported the crest. It is defined by the mentality, the heart and the grit of each and every person that puts in the work to be a part of the unit. It's fun, but it's also competitive. It's about winning.
The first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 1991 was won by the USA. In 1999, when the USA hosted the World Cup, the USWNT hoisted their second World Cup trophy after the ‘99ers’ beat China PR in a penalty shoot-out culminating in Brandi Chastain’s famous celebration.
What the ’99 team did for women’s football changed the game entirely. They inspired a generation of young girls around the world to play.
“Women’s soccer is here,” Chastain told FIFA.com. “It’s not a passing fancy, it’s not just enjoyed by a few women who kick the ball around on Sunday. It’s played globally and rightfully so that it has a stage like the World Cup.”
While they may not have realised it at the time, these women were an immense part in making that happen. It has been 20 years since the historic win in Pasadena, California, and there is a new group that has people talking.
There have been numerous comparisons between the 99ers and this year's ‘19ers’ set to take on the Netherlands in the France 2019 Final. Both squads are honoured by the assessments. The current team idolised the ’99 team growing up, and most of the ’99 team are in France supporting the current team.
“I love that I’m here," said Kristine Lilly. "I feel like we are their biggest fans.”
A few of the other players from the 1999 squad mentioned the similarities they see in this current team and why they think they have what it takes to win a fourth World Cup title.
“They just look really unified," Joy Fawcett said. "They want this together and work really well together. That’s what we had that pushed us through the hard times, and that’s what I see from the outside.”
“There is a looseness to them and they’re enjoying each other,” Julie Foudy said. “And we were really, really good at enjoying each other.”
Foudy, who has been covering the team for ESPN during the tournament, also mentioned the depth of the two teams. She explained that skilful substitutes can bring about big moments, a strength of the ’99 group and the current group.
There is one key difference. Carla Overbeck, captain of the 99ers, pointed out that this outfit could do something that her team never did: win back-to-back World Cup titles.
“I think they’re going to,” she said. “Just the confidence that you see in this team. I think we’re going to see their best soccer in the final.”