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Friday, November 21, 2014

Brandi Chastain: Changes Need to Made to U.S. Women’s Soccer Team

Brandi Chastain is a soccer analyst and one of the strongest voices when it comes to women’s soccer. The former U.S. Olympian and World Cup winner spoke with LBS recently and says the U.S. women’s national team needs to make some changes. Brandi was representing the Capital One Cup which is awarded annually to each of the best men’s and women’s Division I college athletics programs in the country. We talked about some of the top teams and college players in the country, but our conversation was the most interesting when we discussed the national team.

The women’s team lost to Japan in the World Cup championship game, blowing two one-goal leads. They were called chokers, though many players disagreed with that. Chastain was disappointed that the team didn’t win, and thinks changes to the team need to be made.

“I think every team needs to have a connectivity to be able to play in the three parts of the field with composure and vision. That takes teams from being good to being great,” she told Larry Brown Sports.

“I think there has to be improved team defending, whether it’s philosophy or style. I think the back line was the greatest weakness.

“There’s got to be something about having a player in the middle of the field that can truly impact the game’s flow and rhythm. Speed it up, slow it down — get Abby Wambach involved in more than just heading the ball. She’s actually quite good with the ball at her feet, but she doesn’t get the ball a lot.”

Chastain said that the women’s team finishing second shows how difficult it is to win a World Cup.

“I don’t think there would be a lot of debate over whether they played great soccer, because I don’t think they did. There’s something about being able to win games. Being a champion is not easy. I think because these players are so talented it’s expected, but it’s not easy.”

We also asked her what she thought of all the debate regarding the team around tournament time. Chastain was pleased that the World Cup received so much attention.

“I love when people comment on it — that means they’re engaged,” Chastain told us. “I think it’s important to have differing opinions because it opens your eyes to potential for new things. It’s like when people ask if I get tired of talking about winning the World Cup and the answer is no, because it means we’re talking about women’s soccer. And that’s the ultimate goal. We’re trying to grow a league, we’re trying to create an environment that’s trying to foster the dreams and hopes of aspiring athletes, and that type of talk is necessary.”

She stressed the importance of dialogue in producing a winning team.

“These players are not satisfied with mediocrity and they don’t want the status quo. They will always want to get better and they will always want to improve and impress. So I love that kind of commentary because it allows us to evaluate and reevaluate what we are doing.”

Brandi also described the future of the Womens Pro Soccer league as “an uphill battle.” She believes there needs to be synergy between the men and women because they are fighting for the importance of soccer in the country. Chastain pointed to Seattle as an example of how Americans can watch and enjoy soccer, and she thinks women’s team needs to be there, as well as Portland, and the Bay Area.

We encourage you to join the Capital One Cup group on Facebook to interact with fans from other schools and to support your favorite teams.


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