Athlete & Olympic Medalist
Born and raised in San Jose
Brandi Chastain is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and three-time Olympic medalist who has inspired generations of young women to play soccer and to fight for equal pay and working conditions as professional athletes.
Chastain started playing soccer at age eight and led her high school to three state championships. At UC Berkeley she earned All-America honors and was named Soccer America’s Freshman of the Year. She transferred to Santa Clara University and in 1989 led the team to the national semifinals. The next season, she scored 22 goals as the team clinched the nation’s top ranking. She was named the ISAA National Collegiate Player of the Year and was among the nation’s top scorers.
As a member of the 1991 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) team, Chastain scored five consecutive goals in a qualifying match, still a team record. She brought home gold in the first Olympic women’s soccer competition at the 1996 Summer Games. She then helped lead the USWNT to its second FIFA Women’s World Cup title in 1999, scoring the decisive penalty kick in the final game and peeling off her jersey to celebrate in one of the most iconic moments in women’s sports. She went on to win silver at the 2000 Olympics and gold in 2004.
Chastain has worked as a color commentator for ABC, NBC and ESPN. Her book, It’s Not About the Bra: How to Play Hard, Play Fair and Put the Fun Back into Youth Sports, was published in 2004. She also coaches, including at Bellarmine College Preparatory, where she helped the varsity team win the 2018-19 NorCal State Championship; as a volunteer assistant to her husband, Jerry Smith, at Santa Clara University; and as head coach for the California Thorns of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. In 2005 she co-founded the nonprofit Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (aka “Bossy”), helping Title I schools and underserved girls by bringing collegiate female athletes to their playgrounds. Over 15,000 girls have participated in the program in the greater San Jose area.
Awards/Recognition (partial list):
All-Time Best XI, U.S. Soccer Federation, 2013
National Soccer Hall of Fame, 2017