The life of Brandi Chastain has been a whirlwind since her left-footed penalty kick stretched the net on July 10, 1999, clinching the Women's World Cup championship for the USA in front of a sold-out crowd at the Rose Bowl and an American television audience of 40 million. She has met countless famous personalities, thrown out numerous first balls at baseball games, appeared in commercials and signed thousands of autographs.
But most important to Chastain, her newfound celebrity has allowed her to take part in events that help people, and more importantly, children. On November 20, in New York City, Chastain appeared at a press event outside the United Nations with none other than FIFA President Sepp Blatter, United Nation's Secretary General Kofi Annan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Roger Moore and the great Pele, as FIFA and UNICEF announced the launch of a global alliance and dedicated the 2002 World Cup to children, marking the first time that a World Cup has been dedicated to a humanitarian cause.
Chastain, who also visited the site of the terrorist attacks that day along with Blatter, has many vivid memories of the experience.
"It was very moving when I placed one of my jerseys next to the FIFA banner Sepp had placed next to all the flags," said Chastain. "I didn't think that I would cry, and then I read a note that was written on the railing of the platform: 'God has a special place for firefighters like my brother Raymond York.' I just lost it."
"My heart was just aching for all those who were present during the ordeal," added Chastain. "Another highlight was having Pele sign my jersey and having a chance to juggle the ball back and forth with him on the UN lawn was a thrill. On that day, soccer was the official language and everyone was invited to participate, no matter one's gender, age, race, political preference or religious beliefs. It was a great day for people to come together."