Soccer star Brandi Chastain’s love of sports was honed in childhood. Growing up in San Jose, she was an avid supporter of the San Jose Earthquakes. She was on a youth team called the Quakettes and was so enamored of her uniform that she slept in it. She became a student of the game, long before most American kids understood the nuances of international soccer. After starring at Archbishop Mitty, Chastain accepted a scholarship to Cal, where she was named the Freshman of the Year. Two knee injuries caused her to miss the ’87 and ’88 seasons. She transferred to Santa Clara in 1989. In both her junior and senior years at scu, she led the Broncos to a #1 national ranking and the Woman’s College Cup final four. Playing as a forward, Chastain made the National Team that won the inaugural Women’s World Cup. But dropped from the team in ’95, she watched that World Cup at home. After, she remade herself as a defender and was back on the national squad. She played in the 1996 Olympics, where the u.s. women won gold. Chastain burst to global fame in the 1999 World Cup. She took the game-winning penalty kick in the championship game, fell to the ground and ripped off her jersey. That image broadcast around the world became shorthand for the newfound power of women in sports. Chastain was a founding member of the wusa Professional League, playing for the San Jose Cyber Rays. In her career, she won two World Cups, two Olympic Gold Medals and a Silver Medal. Chastain has a son Jaden with her husband Santa Clara coach Jerry Smith and a stepson Cameron. She continues to coach and be an ambassador for soccer. She is a member of Santa Clara University’s Hall of Fame and the National Soccer Hall of Fame. “I’ve always loved sports, not just the one I played,” Chastain said. “I value being part of a team, learning about myself and looking forward to what our potential can be. That’s the essence of the sports experience. That’s a reason I’m grateful for this honor.”

Narrative by Ann Killion