For girls who grew up playing soccer in the 1990s, the 1999 Women’s World Cup was a pivotal moment. If you’re a former soccer player of a certain age, the process of watching as the championship game between the U.S. Women’s National Team (USNWT) and China turned into a shoot-out — then waiting with baited breath as Briana Scurry made amazing saves, and immediately erupting into celebration when Brandi Chastain made the game-winning goal — is seared into your memory.
In the wake of the 1999 victory, more and more girls became interested in playing soccer, both within the United States and internationally; in fact, according to U.S. Youth Soccer (via Forbes), girls’ participation in high school soccer increased 45 percent from 1999 to 2014. It’ll be 20 years in the summer of 2019 since that momentous victory (where has time gone?), and we’ve got the scoop on where the 1999 USWNT, known as the ’99ers, are now.
Briana Scurry, the 1999 team’s goalkeeper, was a pillar of the USWNT until her retirement in 2010. During that time, she helped the team bring home a silver medal in the 2000 Olympics, a bronze medal in the 2003 Women’s World Cup, and a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics — while also playing professionally for the Women’s United Soccer Association’s (WUSA) Atlanta Beat, (There have been three different iterations of women’s professional soccer: the WUSA, which existed from 2001-2003, the Women’s Professional Soccer league [WPS], which was in operation from 2008-2012, and the National Women’ Soccer League, which was founded in 2012.)
She retired in 2010 and went on to be the General Manager for the Florida-based MagicJack WPS team, a staff member for the Washington Spirit, and a commentator for the 2011 Women’s World Cup. She’s also been an outspoken advocate for professional athletes dealing with concussions and traumatic brain injuries as a result of their careers, having navigated her own severe concussion. When she was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2017, she became the first Black woman to be nominated.
As the second-string, backup goaltender during the 1999 World Cup, Saskia Webber may not have had any time on the field during the tournament, but she became known for her unflagging support of her teammates, as well as her red, white, and blue spray-painted hair. In an interview with The New York Times just after the USWNT’s World Cup victory, Weber reflected on the fact that although she never left the bench during the tournament, saying that ”If I never become No. 1, I can retire and say I’ve done everything I could… maybe I couldn’t be better than Bri [Scurry], but I was good enough for me.”
After the World Cup, she played for the USWNT until 2000. She then continued playing professionally for the Philadelphia Charge from 2000-2001, and later for the New York Power from 2001-2003. Webber has took up TV hosting, appearing in On Q Live, which covered current events and pop culture through an LGBTQ lens, Q Television’s Country Fried Christmas, and the QTN Holiday Reel. According to her Linkedin page, she’s been the director of goalkeeping for the LA Bulls Soccer Club since 2016.