Brandi Chastain’s Advice For Her Younger Self, And For The Women’s World Cup Final Teams

By Gary Peterson Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Chastain's advice: Whatever comes your way, own it.

Mercury News

Brandi Chastain, local treasure and national icon, published an essay on the Players' Tribune ahead of the 2015 Women's World Cup final that's making the rounds again just two days ahead of the 2019 final.

It probably wasn't a coincidence.

Titled, "Letter to My Younger Self," the post is jam-packed with advice, perspective, encouragement and tough love. It's a retrospective, from her time at UC-Berkeley ("You're going to be humbled by injuries -- two ACL tears and a meniscus tear"). Her first World Cup in 1991. "You and your team will win the final game against Norway, 2-1."

(Programming alert! The 2019 U.S. Women play the Netherlands in the World Cup final on Sunday.)

Chastain consoles her younger self when she fails to make the 1995 U.S. World Cup team. "Feel your hurt. Crawl inside of it, live with it, acknowledge it. Lean on your parents who've always supported you, and your loved ones. They'll help you get through it. Watch your hurt take shape into determination."

You don't have to guess what comes next -- Chastain's part in winning the 1999 World Cup final. The winning penalty kick.

"You'll score the winning goal," she writes. "But you knew you would."

But this essay is not an indulgent exercise. It's not merely a resume of a decorated and lionized women's soccer player. The two teams that will meet on Sunday can find wisdom in her words.

Megan Rapinoe, for example, has generated off-the-pitch news with her salty assertion that she will not visit the White House should the U.S. women win the final. She also is openly gay, not such a revelation in 2019, but still.

Alex Morgan has drawn attention for her "tea time" celebration after scoring against England in the semifinal.

Chastain's advice: Whatever comes your way, own it.

A lot came Chastain's way after that penalty kick.

"Don't think of anything when the ball hits the back of the net," she writes of the goal. "Only feel the eruption of the crowd, the pure joy and elation of that moment. Take your shirt off. Scream. Embrace your teammates. That goal will change your life.

"You can't prepare for the media onslaught that will befall you but embrace it. Don't listen to the sexist remarks about removing your shirt. when you do interview after interview, when everyone asks why, be yourself. Drive the conversation. Give soccer a voice. You've already given it an image." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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