Brandi Chastain


Brandi ChastainNot only is Brandi Chastain perhaps the most famous soccer personality in America, she is also the most recognized Chastain in America. Chastain Central is pleased to sponsor the total Brandi Chastain site at Chastain Central!

Brandi was a key member of the stellar U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. After retiring from the National Team, she continued to play soccer, authored a sports book for parents, and contributed her time to many worthy causes. She is America's foremost soccer ambassador, and participates in other sports events as well.

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Brandi Denise Chastain

Soccer Biography

1999 World Cup ~ Early Years ~ National Team ~ Memorable Moments ~ Dropped ~ Dare to Dream ~ WUSA ~ WPS ~ Hall of Honor

The 1999 Women's World Cup

Brandi ChastainAlready familiar to soccer fans, Brandi became a household name after she delivered the penalty kick against China at the Rose Bowl on July 10, 1999 that won the 1999 Women's World Cup for the U.S. Women's National Team. She wrote an impressive and insightful article about the emotionally charged game called The Biggest Game of My Life. In 2005, the penalty kick was voted the third most significant soccer event of the decade.

In the final game of the 1999 Women's World Cup contest, the United States and China were scoreless after a full 90-minute game period and two 15-minute sudden-death overtime periods, so the game was to be decided by penalty kicks--five for each side. The Chinese kicked first and scored, and team captain Carla Overbeck tied the score. Joy Fawcett matched the second Chinese score for 2-2. Then goalie Briana Scurry saved the third Chinese attempt, while Kristine Lilly scored her kick for 3-2; Mia Hamm matched the next Chinese score for 4-3. It was Brandi's turn. If she failed to score, the result would be a 4-4 tie, and more penalty kicks would be required. If she succeeded, she would win the championship. Brandi had faced the Chinese goalie, Gao Hong, in the same situation in Portugal the previous March and Gao Hong had "psyched her out". This time, Brandi did not look at the goalie. Instead she delivered a left-foot kick that many say no goalie could have saved, and she won the World Cup! Note that though Brandi is known for the final kick, goalie Briana Scurry who actually won the game. Video

Sports IllustratedTime MagazineNewsweekIt wasn't the penalty kick that earned her world-wide notice, however, but her exuberant field celebration in which she shucked off her #6 jersey and swung it in the air victoriously. Major magazine covers (Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek) and television appearances followed. Due to her sudden celebrity, Brandi threw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game, flew on Air Force One with President Clinton, and played golf with Tiger Woods.

People Magazine named her one of the 25 Most Intriguing People of 1999. She appears with team mates on the fold-out cover of Sports Illustrated for Women, Winter 1999-2000, supporting Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The Famous BraHowever, she did not make the top 100 of the century inside (Mia Hamm is #12). In December, 2004 Brandi was number 49 of TV Guide's 100 Most Memorable TV Moments. Regarding the team, David Letterman noted in his Top Ten Slogans for the US Women's World Cup Soccer Team: You'll come for the Hamm; you'll stay for the Brandi!

Will FarrelThough Brandi's shirt-shucking celebration simply followed a pattern frequently seen on men's teams, she had a reverse impact on the men. Male copycats such as Landon Donovan of the San Jose Earthquakes and Jim Rooney of the Miami Fusion also tore off their shirts in victory to reveal sports bras, which previously they had not worn. Even Will Farrel (photo left) got in on the action.

Brandi's spontaneous display proved to be an unplanned boon to Nike, which the company was happy to exploit. Afterwards, they are said to have signed a million dollar contract with her for continuing promotion Video. Brandi will always be remembered for her black Nike sports bra.

Early Years

Brandi Chastain was born on July 21, 1968 in San Jose, California. Lark once said that as a child Brandi threw aside her dolls to play in the yard, embarrassed middle-school boys who taunted her for being the only girl on the field, and kicked the ball against the garage for hours and hours. Though her first sport was ballet, and Brandi really wanted to play American-style football Video, she began playing soccer when she was eight.

Brandi ChastainHer first team was the Quakettes, named after the North American Soccer League's San Jose Earthquakes. When she received her uniform, she not only slept in it but wore it for her Halloween costume. After the Quakettes, she joined the Under 12 team, Horizon, which was part of the Blossom Valley Soccer League in south San Jose. The team was coached by her father, Roger Chastain. During that time she also played for a couple months with a team of 14-year-olds. As a child, Brandi held season tickets to the San Jose Earthquakes, and during the summer she attended the Earthquakes soccer camps. Her soccer hero was Earthquakes' George Best.

When the Horizon dissolved, Brandi joined the Under 16 West Valley Cougars. She also played for the Under 16 ODP Northern California State team. When she was sixteen, Brandi was called to the youth national team. It had only one training event and was not a permanent team, but she was excited about it and even missed prom to attend. Later, she traveled with the ODP Northern California State team to play in Sweden and Denmark.

At Davis Junior High School, there was no girls' soccer team, so she tried out for the boys' team and played on that team for two years. In high school, she played for Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose and led them to three straight state championships. She continued her soccer career (with team mate Joy Fawcett) at the University of California-Berkeley in 1986, where she was Soccer America's national freshman of the year. She then transferred to Santa Clara University, where she led the Santa Clara Broncos to two NCAA final four appearances and was named all-American and player of the year in 1990, but sat out the 1987 and 1988 seasons due to surgery on her knees. She graduated Santa Clara with a Television and Communications degree and returned as assistant coach for the Broncos from 1994 to 2000. She also coached the Monta Vista High School girls' soccer team in Cuppertino, California in the early 1990s.

U.S. Women's National Team
Brandi's Autograph

Brandi is a veteran of the U.S. Women's National Team. She is known among her teammates as Hollywood, a nickname given to her by teammate Julie Foudy in 1996 because Brandi was always so dramatic. Brandi joined the U.S. National team in 1988. In 1991, she played in the games that won the FIFA Women's World Cup for the U.S. National Team for the first time. In 1993, however, she was cut from the national team by coach Anson Dorrance. So she played for the Japanese Shiroki Serena team and earned MVP there, the first non-Japanese to do so, and she made the All-Star team. Coach Tony DiCicco brought her back to the national team in 1996, but instead of assigning her as a forward as she had always been, he made her a defender. She played the position well. She helped win the Gold at the 1996 Olympic Games (where she played every minute of every game), the Silver in 2000, and the Gold again in 2004. And, of course, she helped the team win their second FIFA Women's World Cup in 1999.

Brandi on WheatiesIn 1999, five members of the National Team appeared on 12 ounce boxes of Wheaties: Michelle Akers (August), Brandi Chastain (September), Briana Scurry (September), Mia Hamm (November), and Kristine Lilly (November).

To many people, Brandi and jersey #6 is the same thing. Though Brandi and her jersey number will always be associated together, there was nothing special in her receiving that number. It was simply the only number available when she made the National Team.

The 5'7" Brandi is a member of the 91ers, a core group of U. S. National Team veterans who played from the 1991 World Cup championship to the 2004 Olympics. Most of the five remaining 91ers (Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Joy Fawcett, and Brandi Chastain) were expected to retire after the 2004 Olympics, but Brandi surprised the soccer world by announcing in September, 2004 that she would continue on the team with a goal to play to at least her 200th game for the U.S. Women's National Team. She made her 100th appearance for the National Team on Independence Day, 1999 in the World Cup game against Brazil. After the announcement, she participated in the 10-game fan celebration tour which was also a farewell tour for retiring teammates Hamm, Foudy, and Fawcett.

Memorable Moments on the Field

Of course, Brandi's most memorable moment was her penalty kick which won the 1999 World Cup, along with her field celebration afterward. Interestingly, another of her most-famous goals was also during the 1999 World Cup competition. On July 2, in the fifth minute of the World Cup quarterfinal match against Germany, Brandi broke a zero-zero tie by scoring a goal for the Germans! Her intent was to kick the ball back for goalie Briana Scurry to recover, but instead she scored an own-goal. However, Brandi redeemed herself with a second half goal to tie the game at 2-2, and the U. S. Team went on to win the game 3-2.

SIFW July-August, 1991Brandi holds the record on the National Team for the most goals in a single game, which was five goals against Mexico on April 18, 1991 in a qualifying match for the 1991 World Cup. She came into the game as a substitute, and these were also the first goals she scored as a member of the National Team. Great start!

For 15 years, Brandi held the NCAA record for the most consecutive games with at least one goal each. In 1990 she scored goals in 15 consecutive games for the Santa Clara Broncos. In 2005, not one but two NCAA players threatened her record. The Portland Pilot's Christine Sinclair and the PSU (Penn State) Nittany Lions' Tiffany Weimer raced to match or beat the record. On Friday, October 14, Weimer tied Brandi's record. On the west coast, Sinclair, playing later in the evening, also matched the 15 consecutive mark for a three-way tie: Chastain-Weimer-Sinclair. Weimer's team had no Sunday game that week, and on Sunday Sinclair scored her 16th consecutive game, breaking Brandi's 15-year-old NCAA record. Weimer matched the new record with her 16th game on Friday, October 21, only to have Sinclair extend her streak to 17 later the same evening. Both athletes had upcoming Sunday games. Weimer matched Sinclair's 17, but a few hours later Sinclair faltered. She was at the end of her run, so the question now was whether Weimer would continue past her with 18 consecutive goals. On Friday, October 28, Weimer did not score. The back-and-forth was over and both players shared the new record of 17 consecutive games with goals.

Dropped From the National Team

Dropped from the teamIn June of 2005, the sports world was stunned when Greg Ryan, the new coach for the U.S. Women's National Team, announced that Brandi was being dropped from the team. The announcement spawned plenty of commentary, much of it against Ryan for dropping Brandi without even allowing her to compete at camp for a spot on the team. Commentators also questioned Ryan's wisdom in unceremoniously dismissing the nation's greatest soccer ambassador. Brandi, at 192 caps, was eight caps shy of her minimum goal of 200 games played for the national team. Her last game was December 8, 2004 against Mexico. Undaunted, Brandi responded that she did not accept the announcement as the last word on the issue, but with the passage time she admitted it was not likely. However, as late as June of 2007 she was still holding out hope of rejoining and even playing in the 2008 Olympics, but she did not return.

The Greg Ryan saga was not over. Though he had a strong winning streak with the team, on September 27, 2007 he made some surprising coaching decisions, and the team lost the World Cup contest in semi-finals to Brazil in a humiliating 4-0 score. Immediately, much of the soccer world blamed Ryan, including Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy. It was only one more step in his alienating soccer fans and players. Within a month, he was fired from his position; among his potential replacements was Brandi's husband, Jerry Smith.

Dare to Dream

Dare to DreamHBO Sports premiered the 90-minute documentary, Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team in December, 2005. Dare to Dream features the five great ladies of the National Team - Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, and Joy Fawcett. Dare to Dream includes archival footage and interviews with soccer stars Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, April Heinrichs, Briana Scurry, Carla Overbeck and Michelle Akers; national team coaches Anson Dorrance and Tony DiCicco; journalists Robin Roberts, Kelly Whiteside, and Sally Jenkins; Olympic gold medal swimmer Donna de Varona; and former tennis champion Billie Jean King. The documentary is now available on DVD. Read Brandi's September 11, 2007 Interview.

In an interesting side-light, Hillary Clinton was scheduled to introduce the HBO debut in New York, but she never arrived. The film was delayed half an hour, but the senator was stuck in traffic and missed it.

Women's United Sports Association

San Jose MagazineBrandi helped form the Women's United Soccer Association in 2001 and led the San Jose CyberRays to the first WUSA Founder's Cup championship. Brandi was on the cover of the May, 2003 San Jose: Magazine for Silicon Valley with an article inside, Brandi Chastain Revealed; Cyberrays Superstar Up Close & Personal. There were also teams in Boston, Washington D.C., Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, and North Carolina. The league had major sponsors like Johnson & Johnson, Hyundai, Gillette, Gatorade, and Maytag. And there was a TV deal. However, though the WUSA created considerable excitement, it collapsed in 2003.

In 2005, Brandi re-joined the California Storm of the amateur Women's Premier Soccer League for which she had played off and on since 1990 whenever she had a break from the National Team. Because of her numerous commitments, Brandi was only able to play five of thirteen games in 2005. The Storm (13-0-0) went all the way to the championship. They survived the semifinal, but lost the championship game to F.C. Indiana. Brandi played in the final game.

Women's Professional Soccer

FC Gold PrideThe Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league was formed in September 2007 and began playing on March 29, 2009. There are currently eight teams in the league. The first draft was held in January of 2009, and Brandi was chosen by the FC Gold Pride team in the Bay Area in the seventh round. With the Gold Pride playing at Buck Shaw Stadium, Brandi was returning home to Santa Clara University, where she led the Broncos. Coach Albertin Montoya was impressed with Brandi's performance during the tryout camps. At 40, Brandi was seven years older than her coach and was the oldest player in the league. She moved from defense to midfield. See Video about the first game with Brandi and Jaden.

The first Gold Pride game was in early April. Brandi and her old team mate Tiffeny Milbrett playing for the Gold Pride faced another old team mate, Kristine Lilly, who was playing for the Boston Breakers and was coached by Toni DiCicco, who had coached the three of them together to win the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal and 1999 Women's World Cup. Both Brandi and Tiffeny played in the first game, resulting in a 2-1 win over Boston in Buck Shaw Stadium filled with 6,459 fans.

Unfortunately, the team did not continue its winning streak and came in last for the first season. Brandi had been moved up to starting center midfielder toward the end of the season. Coach Montoya said, "Her leadership was invaluable in the midfield." Six players, including Brandi, were re-signed in September by the Gold Pride for the second season. However, in February of 2010, FC Gold Pride announced that Brandi was being released.

Brandi was incredibly disappointed. She said she would eventually like to become a coach at the youth, college, or national level, but wanted first to spend a second year with Gold Pride and its talented newcomers, which included Brazilian standout Marta and league all-star Camille Abily. Elaborating a few days later, she said, "I didn't see it coming, totally blindsided really. Had taken sponsor photos not long before...It is a bummer and I am not very happy about it to say the least."

West Coast Conference Hall of Honor

Shortly after her dismissal from the Gold Pride, on March 6, Brandi was inducted into WCC Hall of Honor in its second ever WCC Hall of Honor class.

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Other Sports Activities

Sports Author ~ Broadcasting ~ BAWSI ~ Golf ~ Running ~ Charities and Causes ~ Superstars

Sports Author

Brandi's BookIn October, 2004, Brandi released her book, It's Not About the Bra: How to Play Hard, Play Fair, and Put the Fun Back into Competitive Sports. In the book, Brandi encourages parents and coaches to improve current youth soccer programs, which Brandi feels have become too pressured and violent. She uses plenty of examples from her own experience and those of other well-known soccer personalities. See the complete book review below. The paperback edition was released in September, 2005. Video

Mitchell Lane Publishers released a 32 page children's book on Brandi by Michelle Medlock Adams in April 2005 titled Brandi Chastain: Not Just One of the Boys. The reading level is ages 4-8. It is part of a set of four books on soccer stars. The other stars are David Beckham, Freddy Adu, and Landon Donovan.


Sports ReporterBrandi earned a Television and Communications degree from Santa Clara University. She joined the ABC-ESPN Broadcasting team as a side-line reporter beginning with the 2005 Major League Soccer season, and also served as a soccer analyst for NBC Sports coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics. After her first three months at ABC-ESPN, she commented that, like with anything new, she had to pay her dues, feel her way around, and make some mistakes. One insight she gained was that it was better to use fewer words, rather than paint the picture as she was prone to do.

The way for Brandi as a female sports commentator was paved in great part by another Chastain who now lives in California. Jane Chastain was the first female sportscaster at both local and national levels in the sixties and early seventies. She faced a tremendous amount of bias until she was able to prove herself.


Brandi ChastainWhen the soccer league failed in 2003, its supporters were quite disappointed. Marlene Bjornsrud, former general manager of the San Jose CyberRays, felt she needed to do something for the next generation. In February 2005, Bjornsrud and others gathered and brainstormed a new program. The idea that resulted was to provide health and exercise programs for girls in at-risk communities using college athletes as role models. They came up with the name Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI). See a fifteen minute Video presentation.

BAWSI LogoFirst, Bjornsrud and Chastain took 20 girls from Overfelt High out onto the school track, strapped pedometers on them and started walking. The next week, they brought basketball players from San Jose State to partner with the high school girls - many of whom were battling weight issues and had little exposure to organized physical activity. "It just took off," Bjornsrud said. "It was all word of mouth." The next fall, they took their programs to Pomeroy Elementary in Santa Clara and San Antonio Elementary in San Jose. Almost 100 third-fifth grade girls turned out at Pomeroy and 65 at San Antonio. During the weekly sessions, BAWSI girls move between five stations, which focus on goal setting, teamwork, cardiovascular exercise, and body awareness activities, such as yoga. They receive pedometers and journals to write down goals and progress. The aim isn't to teach specific skills but to get them moving and excited.

Fund-raising is an ongoing concern, and the most unusual funds have been raised by Brandi, who played Texas hold 'em in a poker tournament at Michael Jordan's celebrity golf tournament in the Bahamas. After winning her table, Brandi moved to Jordan's table. She beat the basketball superstar and won $20,000. "I was thrilled," she said. "It meant an extra 500 girls get to participate in BAWSI."

Brandi's Chastain's enthusiastic presence has been crucial to BAWSI (Video), even though the little girls don't know who she is. They were in diapers when she helped win the 1999 World Cup championship over China. BAWSI has received the Award of Excellence from the YMCA's Activate America and the silver medal from California Governor Schwarzenegger's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.


Brandi ChastainBrandi tells us, "My grandfather used to take me to the driving range. He'd take me down to Pebble Beach to watch the tournament there. We'd sit at the 18th green at Pebble watching the golfers come through and eating strawberry shortcake." He also taught her the game; golf was their bond. Though she was always a golf fan, Brandi did not begin playing until she was in her mid-to-late twenties. She and Mia Hamm first played golf together in 1996 during breaks from soccer training. After the 1999 World Cup victory, she had the opportunity to play golf with Tiger Woods.

As Brandi's soccer commitments were decreasing, she began to be noticed more frequently on the golf course, especially beginning in 2005. Early in that year, the NAPA Valley Reporter commented on her fashionable golfing attire--tucking her socks into her pants, wearing a retro newsboy hat, and sporting a pink silk scarf as a belt. Brandi stated that it was just another way for her to express herself. In July, she played at a celebrity-amateur event at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in preparation for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. She demonstrated a smooth swing and evidenced her typical cheerful personality. She signed autographs, posed for pictures, and encouraged her partners. Golf Digest reported in November that Brandi and Mia were continuing to play, with Mia being just a bit better than Brandi.

Along with national team mate, Julie Foudy, Brandi played in The Ladies First Celebrity Golf Classic, a fund-raiser to benefit the Women's Sports Foundation, on April 21-23 of 2006. It is the only Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament to feature only female celebrities. In July, she competed in the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course Celebrity Tournament for the first time. It was a 54-hole tournament with a $500,000 purse. She returned to the third annual Ladies First Celebrity Golf Classic in May 2007, raising funds for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s GoGirlGo! initiative. In July, Brandi competed in the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course Celebrity Tournament again. This year, it was hoped that the tournament would help restore area tourism, which had suffered from the recent Angora fire.

Brandi's team created quite a story at the second annual Silicon Valley Golf Challenge held on October 6th, 2008 at the Stanford University Golf Course. The all-girl team entered as a wild card team and won all three levels of the skills competition before losing in the finals. As the second place team in the otherwise all men's event, the ladies won $40,000 to be donated equally to five different local charities. In addition to Brandi, the team included Carol Bartz, Mary Meeker, Jenni Tangtaphiboontana, and Kay Cockerill.

At the beginning of 2009, Brandi, a member at San Jose Country Club, was playing golf twice a week and had a 14 handicap. In February, she and Adrian Young placed second at the Ocean Club golf course in The Bahamas, winning $30,000; and Brandi was announced as a competitor in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Said Brandi, "I've been trying for 10 years to get into this darned tournament." It was here that she used to watch golf with her grandfather. Brandi was the only woman in the tournament; there were 311 men Video. She was assigned a 16 handicap for the tournament and was the first woman to qualify for the final round at the Pro-Am since 2005. She finished the tournament tied for seventh place with Ricky Barnes at 257. Her caddy was husband Jerry Smith. See sand angel Video.


Of course, soccer requires a great deal of running, but Brandi also runs outside of soccer. San Jose City Councilman Ken Yeager started the annual San Jose City Hall Stair Challenge to encourage physical fitness. For the second annual event in 2006, he extended the challenge invitation to city employees. Brandi ran up the 18 flights of stairs in 3 Minutes and 2 Seconds, just ahead of Yeager himself at 3:07.

The next year saw Brandi running in the 2007 San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon along with 11,000 others. She ran faster than in her last race, which was 14 years earlier. She ran again in the 2008 race to promote women's health programs. She ran her third consecutive race in 2009, finishing with a respectable 1:59:03.

Brandi ran in the 2008 New York City Marathon as an ambassador for the ING Run for Something Better program. She found this race somewhat difficult; she walked part of the last 10 miles because of cramping, and she experienced some nausea afterward. Her goal was just to finish the race, which she did in 4 hours, 11 minutes, and 8 seconds. See Video interview prior to the run.

Charities and Causes

Global March Against Child LaborBrandi Chastain supports many projects and causes. She speaks, competes, takes part in events, and is an all around ambassador for sports and other causes. She especially likes helping children and parents. Music Video. She participates in so many causes that it is impossible to mention all of them here. Some have already been mentioned; the following are other significant examples.

1. Perhaps Brandi's best known cause is the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI), which she co-founded. She won $20,000 in a celebrity poker tournament for BAWSI.

2. One of Brandi's primary charities is the Children's Cancer Research Fund. As a celebrity, she won $15,000 on Jeopardy!, $10,000 on Weakest Link, $5,000 on Celebrity Poker Showdown, and additional money on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?--all for CCRF.

3. To combat obesity, smoking, and drug use, the Women's Sports Foundation launched GoGirlGo! in 2004 to encourage healthiness in girls through sports. Brandi started working with the program in 2005. Nearly 500 girls participate at eight Bay Area schools, with fifty volunteer coaches serving from local universities.

4. Brandi teaches soccer skills at, a youth sports community site. Soccer Skills and Drills includes videos of Brandi Chastain demonstrating how to make aggressive soccer decisions. See this Video example.

5. Brandi's World, the online clubhouse for girls developed by Brandi and podiatrist Dr. Joan Oloffthey, attempts to help adolescent girls realize their fullest potential. It is a fun site for girls and has a number of menu choices. Brandi, Joan, and others write articles and answer questions, and Brandi maintains a blog.

6. Brandi signed the declaration against child labor (see photo above).

7. Brandi went to Copenhagen to promote Chicago for 2016 Olympics. Chicago was competing with Tokyo, Madrid, and Rio de Janeiro.

8. Brandi and Mia Hamm joined with the WPS in an anti-flu campaign for the 2009 flu season to raise awareness about the importance of getting an annual flu vaccination. It was part of a national education campaign called "Don't Play with the Flu." Brandi's video introduces the Don't Play with the Flu website. Video


Brandi and Julio in SuperstarsWhen Brandi was drafted by the FC Gold Pride, she had already made a commitment to compete in ABC's upcoming Superstars. She spoke with Gold Pride about the conflict, and the team decided the publicity from Brandi's presence on Superstars would be positive for the team. Brandi missed a few weeks of the soccer season for the program.

On Superstars, eight athletes teamed up with eight other celebrities to compete weekly in the six-week TV event on ABC starting on June 23 at 8 p.m. Each athlete was teamed with a celebrity, and Brandi's celebrity partner was Julio Iglesias, Jr. Competition events included swimming, biking, jumping, running, basketball, and kayaking. One team was eliminated each week. Brandi and Julio came in second in first episode. They were eliminated in the fifth episode of the six-show primetime series.

For developments that are more recent than the current update (5-03-10) see Brandi Chastain News.

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Brandi Chastain's Family

Roger and Lark ~ Chad ~ Erin ~ Jerry, Cameron, and Jaden ~ Genealogy

Roger and Lark Chastain

Lark ChastainBrandi's parents were well known to her fans. They were very supportive of her sport activity and attended her games regularly. Her father had coached Brandi's soccer teams for eight years when she was a child, and as she became more involved in the sport, her parents adjusted their careers in order to be more flexible to attend her games.

Brandi's fans were very sad at Lark's unexpected passing in her sleep on September 7, 2002 at 56. Eight-hundred mourners attended Lark's memorial service. They were equally saddened by Roger's death from a heart attack seven months later, on April 8, 2003 at 58. The San Jose CyberRays honored them by raising more than $43,000 for charity in the names of Lark and Roger Chastain and by designating the May 10, 2003 game against the Carolina Courage as the Lark and Roger Chastain Celebration Game.

Chad Chastain

Chad ChastainIt is said that when Brandi's brother Chad was eight and Brandi was ten, Brandi practiced one day with Chad's baseball team. As a result, the coach added Brandi to the team--and dropped Chad! None-the-less, when Chad became a sales rep for Nike, he would introduce himself as Chad Chastain, Brandi Chastain's brother, when few knew who Brandi Chastain was. He predicted that she would become as big as Mia Hamm.

Lark's death had a big impact on Chad. He began to plan a charity promotion to raise money for the American Cancer Society's Children's Cancer Research Fund by playing golf in 50 states in 50 days. The event attracted considerable attention in 2003. Chad was a 4 handicap golfer.

Chad is married to DePaul women's soccer coach, Erin Hussey Chastain. He sometimes leads soccer camps for Santa Clara. He was a player and a coach for the Nike Swoosh Men's Team and has played for various men's club teams and has also coached with various club teams including the Dallas Sting and Almaden Valley. Chad was appointed girls' head soccer coach at Archbishop Mitty High School, where he led the team to two consecutive Northern California Central Coast Section titles. He is now an assistant at DePaul.

In 2007, Chad and his sister Brandi established The Chastain Soccer Academy of which they are co-directors. The camps are four days long. They offered their first soccer camp in Reno, Nevada in June of 2007, followed by a Carson City camp with about 80 boys and girls participating. Jerry Smith and Erin Chastain are also on the academy staff. They returned to Northern Nevada for both camps in 2008 and planned to make the Nevada camps an annual event. Response there has been great, and Carson City is also home to Chad and Brandi's grandparents, Roger and Hazel Chastain.

Erin Hussey Chastain

Erin ChastainChad married another soccer player, Erin Hussey. She started playing when she was six, and she was a starter for four years at Minnesota. She was three-year team captain of the Minnesota Gophers, was distinguished for her accomplishments on the field, and was selected to the All-Big Ten first team in 1996. Like the rest of the family, Erin is a sought after soccer coach as well. Erin started her coaching career at Northwestern. She was head coach of the Glenview U-15 Girls' Soccer Club and assistant coach at Santa Clara for five years under coaches Jerry Smith and Brandi Chastain. She is currently head women's soccer coach at DePaul. Erin is a native of Plymouth, Minnesota.

Jerry, Cameron, and Jaden Chastain Smith

Jerry SmithIn 1996, Brandi married Jerry Smith, head coach of the Santa Clara Broncos, and became step-mom to his son, Cameron. Jaden Chastain Smith, their first child together, was born on June 8, 2006 at 10:34 pm. He weighed in at 7 lbs, 10 oz and was 22 inches long. Jaden often accompanies his mother on projects and in newscasts.

Jerry Smith began as Santa Clara head coach in 1987 and was Brandi's coach when she played for the team. As of September, 2005, Jerry reached 300 wins with the Broncos, only the third NCAA Division I coach to reach that level. Recent Broncos career stats under his 20-year leadership were 311-79-26. Fifteen of his players have gone on to play for the National Team. Jerry Smith was also head coach of the U.S. Under-21 National Team. He began his coaching career with seven successful years at Homestead High School, Sunnyvale, California, where he achieved a record of 69-29-12. In June of 2007, Jerry signed a contract for seven more years as head coach. Before becoming a soccer coach, Jerry was an outstanding soccer midfielder.

Read a People interview with Brandi about her kids and photos of the family.

Purina Calendar for JuneBrandi and her husband, Jerry, participated in a 2001 celebrity calendar produced by Purina to honor St. Louis Cardinal's manager Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation. Brandi and Jerry appeared in the photo for June along with their dogs, Tobi and Noel, a Wheaten Terrier mix and Golden Retriever. The couple's comment about the dogs is, "They constantly make us feel like we're as great as ice cream! They just can't get enough of our attention." Some of the other celebrities in the calendar were NSYNC, Lance Armstrong, Jimmy Smits, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Jerry and Brandi were the only celebrities wearing arf insignia shirts.

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Brandi's Aunt Elizabeth McGhee, sister to Hazel McGhee, reports that, according to Brandi's grandfather, the family descends from Pierre Chastain, the French immigrant who arrived in Virginia colony in 1700. However, the family has not worked out the family tree. Brandi's parents are Roger and Lark Chastain; her grandparents are Roger and Hazel McGhee Chastain (they live in Carson City, Nevada); and her great grandfather is Sterling Chastain, who was first a school teacher in Oklahoma and then in California real estate. Therefore, the apparent lineage for Brandi is: 4-Brandi; 3-Roger; 2-Roger; 1-Sterling……Pierre.

Chastain Central presented our information to genealogist Bob Leishman, Historian for the Pierre Chastain Family Association, and he was able to return the following research results.

Pierre Chastain Family Association

Brandi Denise ChastainHere is what I have been able to find on Brandi's family with what you sent me:

b. 21 Jul 1968, San Jose, Santa Clara, California
m. Jerry Smith

i. Jaden Smith, b. 8 Jun 2006, California

[Sources: California Birth Index, 1905-1995, Brandi D. Chastain and Chad A. Chastain; Chastain Central Website]

b. 6 May 1945, Merced County, California
m. Lark D. Lillge, 28 Jan 1968, Santa Clara County, California
--b. Aug 1946, Germany; d. 7 Sep 2002, California
d. 8 Apr 2003

i. Brandi Denise Chastain, b. 21 Jul 1968, San Jose, Santa Clara, California
m. Jerry Smith

ii. Chad A. Chastain
b. 13 May 1971, Santa Clara County, California
m. Erin E. Hussey

[Sources: California Birth Index, 1905-1995 for Roger Alan Chastain; US Public Records Index, San Jose, Santa Clara, California; New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 for Lark D. Lillge; California Marriage Index, 1960-1985 for Roger A. Chastain and Lark D. Lillge; Chastain Central Website]

b. ca. 1922, Oklahoma
m. Hazel McGhee (b. ca. 1923, Arkansas)

Known Children:
i. Roger Allen Chastain, b. 6 May 1945, Merced County, California
m. Lark D. Lillge, 28 Jan 1968, Santa Clara County, California
d. 6 Apr 2003, California
ii. Chad Chastain, b. ca. 1955
iii. Elizabeth Chastain

[Sources: Chastain Central Website; 1930 US Federal Census, Bilby, Hughes, Oklahoma; US World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 for Roger H. Chastain; 1930 US Federal Census, Lake, Perry, Arkansas]

b. 24 Aug 1892, Oklahoma
m. Bertie R. Hardwick (b. 3 Dec 1895, OK; d. 18 Jun 1968, Fresno, California)
d. 19 Nov 1974, Santa Clara County, California

Known Children:
i. Norvell Fentem Chastain, b. 16 Jul 1915, Oklahoma
d. 20 Jan 1994, Fresno, California
ii. George F. Chastain, b. ca. 1918, Oklahoma
iii. Roger H. Chastain, b. ca. 1922, Oklahoma
iv. Sterling R. Chastain, b. ca. 1927, Oklahoma

[Sources: 1920 US Federal Census, Calvin, Hughes, Oklahoma; 1930 US Federal Census, Bilby, Huges, Oklahoma; California Death Index, 1940-1997 for Sterling R. Chastain and Bertie R. (Hardwick) Chastain]

I can't seem to connect Sterling R. Chastain with a father yet, but I did find a Sterling Chastain, b. 1842, Alabama in the household of William Chastain (b. 1820, Georgia) and his wife Nancy (b. 1821, SC) in Martins Third District, Lumpkin County, Georgia in the US Federal Census. I don't know if this Sterling could be Sterling R.'s grandfather or not. According to the 1930 Census, Sterling's parents were b. in Alabama. and the Sterling b. 1842 was b. in Alabama. So I just need to find Sterling R. Chastain's parents in Alabama!

This was fun! I hope I can find that connection sometime! Bob

More recently, Phillip L. Sublett did excellent research to fill in the information gap between Bob Leishman's research posted on Chastain Central and the comprehensive compilation of early Chastain descendants listed in Pierre Chastain and His Descendants available from The Pierre Chastain Family Association. His results are impressive and are listed on his website Soblet Family Tree. Many American Chastains are also descended from the Soblets through Pierre's second wife, Anne Soblet. In fact, the brothers of Chastain Central are ninth generation American Chastains, but tenth generation American Soblets.

Brandi's lineage appears to be: 1. Pierre, 2. Pierre, Jr., 3. Abraham, 4. Abraham, 5. William C., 6. Perino Brown, 7. Starling Roy, 6. Roger Hardwick, 8. Roger Allen, 9. Brandi Denise.

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The Gear Photos
Wearing a Soccer Ball

The black bra demonstration was not Brandi's only risqué adventure. In June of the same year, just prior to the World Cup game against China, the 5' 7" Chastain posed in a series of shots for Gear Magazine with only soccer balls for coverTwo Soccer Balls. One photo appeared in the June issue and two more in October. The pictures did not receive nearly the attention as did the televised penalty-kick celebration. However, those two events, together with incidents involving other women athletes, created an interesting flurry of articles on feminism and women's sports.

The shoot was presented to Brandi as a pre-World Cup promotion, but she did not realize she was to pose nude with a soccer ball. She was quite nervous when she finally understood the plan but did the shoot anyway. As a result, she lost the self-consciousness she had had so long; previously, she would not even wear a swimsuit in public. She also provided girls with something new--a physical role model with muscles.

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Where Is Brandi`s Famous Sports Bra?

The famous bra finally found a new home at the Sports Museum of America. In early 2008, The National Soccer Hall of Fame joined with over sixty other single-sport Halls of Fame and other institutions to form the Sports Museum of America in Lower Manhattan. Among the first items announced from its inventory was Brandi's Nike sports bra from the 1999 Women's World Cup, which she had loaned to the museum.

A little more than a year later, Brandi's bra became entangled in drama. The Sports Museum of America filed for bankruptcy, and the trustee for the creditors of the museum seized the museum's artifacts and asked a federal court judge to charge fees to those institutions and individuals who provided them to the museum. The stated purpose was to help cover storage, cataloging, and other costs. Fees started at $250 per item, plus shipping. Otherwise, the items might be auctioned. Many athletes and organizations were very unhappy. Brandi received the information while taping Superstars in the Bahamas, responding that she was glad she had another bra.

However, with the help of a lawyer, Brandi insisted that it was important that her bra to be sent to her right away, as it was the 10th anniversary of 1999 World Cup. She received the hostage bra in June. She did not have to pay the fees.

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It's Not About the Bra
A Review by Tim Chastain

Brandi's BookIf it's not about the bra, then what is it about? This book is not a biography, though it contains numerous biographical details. It is not about the U.S. Women's National Team, although Brandi talks about many of her teammates and some of their more important games. This book is about soccer. Brandi shares the many principles of excellence and professionalism she has learned about the sport, as a guide for younger players, their parents, and their coaches. She also addresses issues in soccer today--particularly in youth soccer.

To build her case for better youth soccer, Brandi develops a number of recurring themes like individual development, sportsmanship, commitment, and team building. An interesting bonus are the short feature articles by guest writers. Family members Jerry Smith, Cameron Smith, Chad Chastain; Women's National Team members Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Brianna Scurry; and others from Brandi's world of soccer weigh in at appropriate times to help illustrate and support a point Brandi wishes to make.

Inside are eight pages of color photos. They do not include shots of Brandi's black sports bra celebration, but there is a photo of her exercising in a white sports bra for the curious.


Sportsmanship is a foundational theme that runs throughout the book. Two experiences helped shape Brandi's strong convictions on the importance of sportsmanship. The first was when she was clotheslined by an opponent in high school. She could have been seriously hurt. It made an impression on her, but not as much as the second example in which she herself deliberately chased down an opponent and cleated her viciously. Remorse from her action helped make sportsmanship a main theme in her life from that time forward.

The issues of sportsmanship and fair play permeate her book. She defines sportsmanship as "honoring both the rules and the spirit of competition by respecting your opponent and appreciating the integrity of the team." To be clear, she explains that there are many tricks and psychological things one can do within the unwritten rules to help your team win. She calls this gamesmanship, and says that gamesmanship is not incompatible with sportsmanship. Gamesmanship is different from playing dirty.

Youth Sports

Brandi decries the pressure and violence that characterize youth sports today. She believes youth sports should be fun and should develop character, sports skills, and relationships. Her catalyst for writing this book was an article she read from the June 7, 2004 of U.S. News and World Report on the terrible, destructive ways parents treat their own children in regard to sports. Brandi believes that taking youth sports too seriously has all but spoiled the game--pushy parents, and sometimes the children themselves, have created an environment of violence and stunted ethics.

She provides a proper philosophy and guidelines to improve youth sports. Brandi tells parents to yell encouragement to their kids from the stands, but to not yell at them. She tells coaches how to build character and lasting success, rather than shortchanging the development of strong kids by exploiting their natural advantage for short-term wins. She also advises against pushing kids to older teams instead of allowing them to develop at their own level, and advocates spending more time in practice and reducing the number of games played.

Her personal experience as a child in sports serves as a resource, but so does her experience as a parent of a child in sports. She tries to be a model sports parent as much as a model sports player.

Biographical Moments

Brandi uses her own experience as well as others to make her points, but not all of her personal examples are positive ones. We get glimpses of a Brandi Chastain not yet developed into the profession she is today. In addition to her dirty foul against an opponent (mentioned above), she shares that when she transferred to Santa Clara, her attitude was so bad she was dropped from the team. Fortunately, she had a tremendous (and permanent) attitude breakthrough and was accepted back on the team. That lesson has served her well throughout her career.

The picture we get as Brandi mentions her freshman year at Berkeley is that of a typical freshman familiar to any college. When she is asked by the advisor what she wants to study, he has to tell her, "Don't look at your mom!" Having gotten into the prestigious University of California at Berkeley, Brandi was put on academic probation. Her grades were improving in her second term, but she was distracted from her studies by her soccer and particularly a serious injury she sustained, so she was dismissed from the school. In many ways, Brandi was a normal freshman on her own for the first time, trying to balance school with the rest of her life. Of course, she bounced back and did much better at her second school.

We also gain insights into Brandi's relationship with her family. The thing that they all have in common is soccer, so Brandi is able to apply illustrations from her family life to soccer issues.

Role Models

Throughout the book, Brandi points out one person after another who helped her to develop this or that skill or attitude. It is obvious that Brandi has a host of role models. As a result, she has become a strong role model for others, especially younger girls. It is at this point that some criticize Brandi for her very public sports bra celebration after the winning penalty kick in 1999, but Brandi is uncowed by such criticism. The image she represents for women is one of confidence and self-acceptance.

George Best, of the San Jose Earthquakes was her childhood hero. Among those who helped Brandi in the turning points of her career are her parents, Lark and Roger Chastain, and her Santa Clara coach, Jerry Smith, who was the one to confront her and guide her through both her opponent-cleating incident and her bad attitude. He later became her husband. Other guides and mentors are childhood soccer camp counselor Tim Schultz of the San Jose Earthquakes, who taught her how to lose gracefully, her grandfather who taught her that to assist a goal is better than to make a goal, and various other players, coaches, and teammates.


It's Not About the Bra is certainly no ponderous textbook on the sport of soccer. The style is conversational--even chatty. It's informality extends to the organization as well. In fact, the book is a bit too loosely structured for me. Also, I did not find the chapter and section headings to be useful much of the time, though I particularly enjoyed some of the clever ones such as You Kick Like a Girl! (If You're Lucky) and If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother. However, despite these stylistic shortcomings, Brandi gets her message across loud and clear!


Who should read this book? If you are a parent of a child involved in any sport, I recommend this book. Brandi has the right perspective on what youth sports is all about, and I believe she points to the proper balance between playing hard and serious, and going overboard. If you coach youth sports, you may enjoy this book as a welcome corrective or as a support for an approach you already pursue. Brandi Chastain fans will like this book. It is not a biography, but it has Brandi tidbits generously strewn throughout. However, if you are seeking information on the great games of the Women's National Team, you may be disappointed. There are references, but no sustained description, analysis, or insight. This is a good soccer inspirational volume, but only a so-so general inspirational book.

Memorable Quotes

Other Reviews of It's Not About the Bra

Sarah Lomas
Gary Singh
Matt Calkins
Bryce Eddings
Hilary Williamson
Amazon (multiple reviews)

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Brandi Chastain Links

Brandi AutogaphFor Your Interest and Entertainment

Bios and Profiles

Brandi News

Brandi Photos

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Top 10 U.S. Soccer Events of the Decade

The U.S. Soccer Foundation is the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States. On September 15, 2005, the Foundation celebrated with a ten year anniversary banquet, during which was released the results of an on-line fan poll of the Top 10 U.S. Soccer Events of the Decade. Of course, Brandi figured into several of the items including her famous winning penalty kick at number three on the list.

1. The U.S. Men’s National Team Reaches the Quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup
2. MLS Unveiled
3. Brandi Chastain’s winning PK over China in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final
4. The 1994 FIFA World Cup held in the U.S.
5. U.S. Goalkeepers Brad Friedel and Tim Howard win major awards in English Premier League
6. Mia Hamm’s Storied Career
7. USA’s Young Guns: Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan
8. U.S. Women’s National Team Wins Gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics
9. U.S. Women’s National Team Wins Gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics
10.New Soccer Stadiums at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA and in Columbus, OH

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Articles on Sexuality in Women's Sports

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