It happened Today: Mariel Margaret Hamm, known as Mia, was born in Selma, on March 17, 1972, former American footballer, with a forward role, considered the best footballer in history

For a brief infinite moment, it seemed that time had stopped in the summer of 1999. On a hot Californian day, a packed stadium with over 90,000 fans remained silent and still , full of anxiety and fear, as Brandi Chastain prepared to take a run to kick the penalty that could have delivered the World Cup to his country. to the United States, hosts.

It was July 10 and Pasadena’s Rose Bowl was seething with sweat and heat . An infinite game, thatagainst China, after the 0-0 in the 90 minutes and extra time . The third final of the women’s World Cup would be decided on penalties. Brandi Chastain, a natural right, had been trained to kick her left too, and although she had never shot from 11 meters with her weak foot, she decided to go with her left. She had already raised the first historic World Cup to the sky, in 1991, and she had the fifth and final penalty after the Chinese Liu Ailing had failed her Di lei attempt. One last hesitation, then the shot and the roar.
A roar overwhelmed Chastain: the whole team of the US women’s national team ran towards their heroine; she tears off her shirt, flips it in the air before collapsing onto her knees. That, unbeknownst to her, will become the most iconic celebration in women’s football also because the final one, in her own way, marks the decisive step towards the exponential growth of a movement and credibility in the eyes of the whole world.

It was the final of the millennium and never before had such a festive and large crowd gathered for a women’s sporting event. Not only present at the stadium and throughout the World Cup, but by extension almost 40 million Americans saw that match . Of course, sport has raced a lot in recent deaths, new heights and new records have been reached, but after 20 years, the legacy left by the “99ers” (as the heroines of 1999 are called in America) is still under the eyes of all.A legacy that has expanded beyond patriotic borders and which has benefited all football and women themselves.
In the late 1990s, women’s football was in its infancy, blossoming as evident from the lack of financial resources and media coverage. Formed in 1985, the American national team, I participate in its first tournament in Italy, a quadrangular that also saw England and Denmark, but more than being a team, more than feeling the weight of the jersey on you, it was a conglomeration of prim ‘still that footballers . Michelle Akers, a force in the midfield of that era, recalls that despite the coach’s cheers, it was only when they began to suffer bitter defeats thatpride was undermined and they decided to engage and radicalize football in their culture .
The merits were, then, of Anson Dorrance , who in 1986, took the reins of the women’s national team and instilled in the players the highest possible philosophy: it was a dream, a vision, to see the United States reach the top, to be the best team in the world. . A seed planted in each girl which, as a legend or mythology, was then handed over to subsequent generations.

And precisely by working on the next generation, the US has raised its approach to football in terms of competence and professionalism. So Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Julie FoudyAs soon as they were teenagers, they were invited to take part in a training session and were chosen in the place of much more experienced colleagues. The intuition was decisive and, with the eyes of the present, obvious: Kristine Lilly, with 354 appearances and 23 years of militancy, is still the player with the most appearances in the national team . And what about Mia Hamm
She wore the stars and stripes jersey from 1987 to 2004, scoring 158 in 276 games, winning the World Cup in 1991 and 1999, winning the laurel at the 1996 Atlanta and Athens 2004 Olympics. best footballer in history, she wore the US national team for seventeen years, won two FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year (2001 and 2002) and andone of only two women included in the FIFA 100, the list of the best 125 footballers of all time .
To break through popular culture and clear prejudice, Mattel , to promote and relaunch the 1999 World Cup, put on the market the Barbie “Soccer Teresa” , inspired by the silhouette of Hamm herself who, however, played on the pitch for only one goal: his grit was equal to his humility and all they did was heroic to improve their sport.
Both on and off the pitch, the “99ers” showed the world what female athletes were capable of and, consequently, what women were capable of. They were selfless, genuine, and determined to make a difference. Bill Clinton, at the time American president, was among the 90,000 in attendance and hosting the winners at the White House, said: “Your success will have a huge impact, more than people realize today and will have a far-reaching impact not only in the States. United, but also in other countries ยป.
In the penalty shootout roulette, the United States triumphed 5-4 and the Chinese goalkeeper Briana Scurry determined the mistake of the Chinese Liu Ailing . In addition to being one of the first professional African-American players, Scurry was also one of the first openly gay footballers and campaigning for gender equality. She has voiced the battle over wage discrimination and is one of the pioneering founders of WUSA, the US women’s soccer association. Years later, her mission is still the same: “Even if we no longer play, we want to do everything possible to progress in the game and in equality in terms of rights and opportunities”.
Source: Cnn

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