October 16, 2013

BACK IN MY DAY: Gold Medalist Brandi Chastain '91 Looks Back As Part of the 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics

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Santa Clara is catching up with many of the women celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics. Today we look back with former Bronco women's soccer player Brandi Chastain '91 (BC). Chastain is best-known for scoring the winning goal in the 1999 World Cup as well playing soccer for the Broncos from 1989-90. In 1989, she led the team to its first-ever postseason appearance, scoring 10 goals and leading the Broncos into the national semifinals and a final ranking of No. 3 in the nation. She is currently in her fourth season working as a volunteer assistant with head coach Jerry Smith. 

SCU: This year Santa Clara is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics at SCU. What does that mean to you? What does it mean to you to have played in the first 50 years? 

BC: I am thrilled that SCU has valued women in athletics, even before Title IX was enacted in 1972. That tells me that Santa Clara is a place that leads and innovates. It makes me proud to be a Bronco. 

SCU: Do you have special memories of Santa Clara you would like to share with us?  A couple as an athlete or a student? 

 BC: My two seasons at SCU were special because we became a No. 1 ranked team in the country and went to the College Cup Final Four two years in a row.

I am also grateful for the student support we were given. Buck Shaw Stadium rocked when we played and it gave us the added lift we needed when games were tight. The Bronco Spirit was alive and well. I remember when we played UCSB in a playoff game (SCU won 2-0). It was complete hysteria. 

SCU: What was it like for you to play at Santa Clara?

BC: As a transfer student, SCU was a saving grace. Being a student-athlete again was a second chance that I took very seriously and I wanted to make every second on the field, in training and games, as well as in the classroom, count.  

SCU: What was special about being a college student-athlete as a woman?    

BC: Having a platform to do what I loved was a great gift, but more importantly to earn a degree has elevated my life beyond my imagination. 

SCU: What do you see in the future for college athletics?

BC: College athletics has a chance to shape and mold future leaders of the world. The lessons learned on the field are applicable to everyday life and therefore are priceless and essential. Statistics show that for girls who participate in sports as youngsters their lives are forever altered. Higher education, less self-esteem issues. Less teenage pregnancy, more leadership qualities. Greater self-awareness, less likely to participate in gang-related activity. Those few things are only the tip of the iceberg on why it is necessary for girls/women to play. Santa Clara University not only has teams but it values those teams to the utmost.