Brandi Chastain life and biography

Brandi Chastain picture, image, poster

Brandi Chastain biography

Date of birth : 1968-07-21
Date of death : -
Birthplace : San Jose, California, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-07-08
Credited as : Soccer player and coach, ,

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Brandi Chastain (also known as: Brandi Denise Chastain), born July 21, 1968 in San Jose, California, United States is an American professional soccer player and coach.

While Brandi Chastain may have booted the game-clinching penalty kick that brought the U.S. women's soccer team to victory over China in the finals of the 1999 Women's World Cup, it was her shirtless celebration afterward that captured the headlines.

Celebrated World Cup Victory Shirtless

On July 10, 1999, fans watched 120 scoreless minutes of play between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, in the 100-degree heat. The game came down to kicks and was tied at 4-4 when Chastain whizzed her game-winning kick past Chinese goalie Gao Hong. In celebration, Chastain ripped off her shirt, giving the world a glimpse of her abs and her black Nike sports bra.

Cameras clicked, and Chastain garnered women's soccer plenty of exposure on front pages around the globe. In the days that followed the game, headlines and editorials raged over the shirtless wonder. Some papers declared the strip a well-thought-out publicity stunt, aimed at getting Chastain more money from Nike. Feminists derailed Chastain for allowing herself to be portrayed as an object. Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, says the controversy stems from what she calls the "Babe Factor." As Kane told Business Week, "My fear is that women will never be taken seriously as great athletes as long as we link being a female athlete with being sexy."

Chastain has shrugged off the criticism. She told Village Voice that she's a woman athlete and is proud to be viewed as such. "It's hypocritical when some feminist views say it's negative to be seen as a woman in your sport."

Since that fated kick, the 5-foot-7, 130-pound Chastain has graced the covers of Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek and People, in addition to a Wheaties cereal box.

Became Instant Role Model

Chastain also became an instant role model. Said ABC sportscaster Lesley Visser to People magazine: "This generation of young girls can have posters of Brandi and Mia [Hamm]on their walls instead of just Michael Jordan and the Backstreet Boys."

And since then, everyone has been asking for a piece of the bra. One entrepreneur offered Chastain $200,000 for the right to auction off the bra. But Chastain said no. "Is this $40 piece of cloth really that coveted?" she asked Sports Illustrated's Tim Crothers. "Maybe I should just carry it around and charge people a buck each to see it, like in Sixteen Candles."

Chastain herself is amazed at the controversy, which prompted some school systems to ban the practice of wearing a sports bra without the protective cover of a shirt. Chastain points out a double standard, noting that men often celebrate goals by yanking off their jerseys. "Why isn't a jog bra enough to wear in public?" she asked Sports Illustrated. "You see women more scantily clad on the beach every day."

Started Playing Soccer at Age Six

While Chastain has only recently become a national celebrity, she's been a leading soccer lady for years. Chastain was born July 21, 1968, in San Jose, California, to Roger and Lark Chastain. She started playing soccer at age 6. As a child, she had some incentive for her drive: her grandfather paid her $1 for every goal and $1.50 for every assist.

Growing up, Chastain was a soccer junkie, though she played nose guard on a sixth-grade flag football team. Chastain led San Jose's Archbishop Mitty High School to three state championships and spent her first year of college playing for the University of California-Berkeley, earning Soccer America Freshman Player of the Year honors. Chastain sat out the 1987 and 1988 seasons, rehabilitating herself after reconstructive surgery on both knees. She then transferred to Santa Clara University, where she played two seasons and helped lead the team to two Final Four appearances. In 1989, she was named First-Team All-Far West and in 1990, First-Team All-American.

A forward, Chastain first appeared on a national team in 1991 as part of the U.S. women's World Cup team. She failed to make the roster for the 1995 World Cup team and later converted to defender, showing up on the 1996 Olympic team. During the 1996 Olympic games, Chastain played through a knee injury and was on the field during every minute of the five matches the U.S. participated in on its way to a gold medal.

Though Chastain keeps fit, she has one downfall. "I cannot keep myself away from ice cream," she told Sports Illustrated for Kids. Her favorite flavors: chocolate-chip cookie dough and vanilla-Swiss almond. "I can eat a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting, no problem!"

Nicknamed "Hollywood" by Teammates

Chastain is well-liked by her teammates, who call her "Hollywood," saying she loves the spotlight. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, drawing and studying new languages. She also likes to visit pet shelters.

Chastain is part of the U.S. team that is favored in the 2000 Olympics to be held in Sydney, Australia. When she's not traveling, Chastain resides in San Jose, California, with her husband, Santa Clara University head soccer coach Jerry Smith. Chastain also helps out with the team.

August 2004: Chastain was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic women's soccer team at the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

June 8, 2006: Chastain and her husband, soccer coach Jerry Smith, welcomed the birth of their son, Jaden Chastain Smith.


Soccer America Freshman Player of the Year, 1986; First-Team All-Far West, 1989; First-Team All-American, 1990; part of Olympic gold medal soccer team, 1996; Women's World Cup All-Star Team, 1999.

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