U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro
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U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro

Welcome Remarks
1999 USWNT Reunion Brunch
Los Angeles, California
Sunday, April 7, 2019

Good morning everyone!

On behalf of all of us at U.S. Soccer, we’re thrilled that you and your families could join us for this historic reunion. And let me just say—as a fan—I’m truly in awe to be in the presence of so many legends.

Let me begin by acknowledging our past president, Dr. Bob! Our new Vice President of U.S. Soccer and the first woman to serve as our Vice President—Cindy Parlow Cone! And, our Chief Executive, Dan Flynn!

I also want to remember a leader who is no longer with us, but who is certainly here in spirit… The winningest coach in U.S. Soccer history, a mentor to so many of you and a true legend of women’s soccer—Tony DiCicco. We’re honored to be joined by Diane, their sons Anthony and Alex, and daughter-in-law Nicole – thank you for being with us.

Today, we have a simple message—thank you! Thank you for 1999—and a final match for the ages! More than 90,000 fans in the Rose Bowl—the largest crowd at any women’s sports event ever!

So many incredible, indelible moments! Kristine’s game-saving header in the 100th minute! Those nerve-wracking penalty kicks! Briana’s unforgettable PK save! PKs by Carla, Joy, Kristine, Mia and Brandi – and one of the most iconic sports celebrations ever! Michelle in the locker room, pulling out her IV, ripping off her oxygen mask, and marching back onto the field to join the celebration! And the sight of all of you—one, united team—lifting that World Cup trophy together! It was, truly, truly a ground-breaking moment – not just for women’s soccer, but for all American sports.

Most of all, we’re here to say thank you for your example and your legacy, which burns so bright. You inspired the players who followed to win Gold in ’04 and ’08 and again in 2012; to win the World Cup for the third time in 2015; and to hopefully bring that trophy home again this year!

You inspired a generation of young girls whose love of the game will carry us forward, for decades to come, because they want to be just like you. And perhaps most of all, you challenged and changed the way our country—indeed, the world—views not just women’s soccer, but women athletes. Before 1999, some thought women’s sports might be a passing fad. After 1999, it was clear that women’s soccer and women’s sports were here to stay.

I want to close by sharing with you excerpts from a story written by a journalist after she watched you play.  She wrote:

“When you watch games for a living, you see a lot of stuff.

And after a while you understand that athletes' behavior can be comedic, brave…seeking, uplifting…

Some of what you see you like, and some of it you don't like very much, and it's all very interesting, and eventually it can even make you cynical. 

But this team – your team - vaults over all that cynicism and creeps into your heart.  They just don't know how to put a foot wrong.”

I think she perfectly captured the genuine spirit and team play that you all displayed as 99ers.

Again, on behalf of all of us at U.S. Soccer, thank you for your shining example. Thank you for your bravery and how you uplifted us all. Twenty years later, you still vault over cynicism and you will always be in our hearts.

Thank you all so much.