Her Story: You can’t make a list like this without including Brandi Chastain, the author of the most pivotal moment in US WNT history. She grew up in California and played her college years in that state. She was first capped by the Lady Nats in 1991, and I don’t think she has technically retired from US Soccer since. She’s deserving of this spot.
Her Stats: Chastain was one of the US’s most formidable defenders for over a decade. Though she was a fixture in the back, she also had the versatility to play mid when called upon. She is sixth all-time in appearances with 192, twelfth in goals (30, the most of any defender in team history), and she shut down some of the world’s best scorers for the squad.
Her Trophies: Chastain was a member of both the 1991 and 1999 World Cup champion squads as well as the Gold Medal winning teams in 1996 and 2004. She especially played a huge role during the 1999 WC campaign, and she notched the final PK that resulted in the team winning the title. She was an important cog in the WNT machine.
Her Legacy: Chastain will always be best remembered for ripping off her jersey to reveal her sports bra after notching her game winning PK in 1999. In that moment, she went from little-known defensive stalwart to worldwide celebrity. Her play was always stellar, but that single instant showed girls all over the world that they could be strong and achieve great feats of athletic skill, just like the boys. She still plays in the WPS today, so her influence grows.