Brandi is here!
What's your role with the Capital One Cup board?
I am, what I would say, an ambassador. Having been a collegiate athlete and having participated in the NCAA playoffs. I get to talk about all of the great things about NCAA athletics. To highlight all of NCAA sports and give props to those athletes on and off the field.
The USA women team has not beaten Japan in recent encounters. What do you think about the chance in the Olympics?
The U.S. just beat Japan in Sweden in a tune up game. Before that, they hadn't beaten Japan in the last three games. Japan is a really talented team. They'll be a force to be reckoned with. However, I think this U.S. team learned some lessons from that game, should they play again.
Title IX just celebrated its 40th anniversary last month. As a coach at Santa Clara, I know you're still close to soccer at that level: what's currently being done to help promote gender equity in college sports?
Every university has a compliance officer and has to comply within the rules or have sanctions. At the collegiate level, things are changing and have changed significantly. Now, I think more focus is turning to the high school level where there are more issues with compliance. Title IX has changed the landscape. When I played in college, I think there were only 5 women's soccer teams, now there are over 300.
Brandi, I enjoyed your drive on the field. You played with some of the best in the game! Was the China game one of your best memories? Can you recount your college best memory?
My best college memory would have to be..I was a transfer student to Santa Clara. Before my junior year, I was injured and I couldn't play in the first game against Cal. Watching Santa Clara beat Cal for the first time. The following year when I got to play against Cal at Santa Clara and scored a goal, that was one of my best memories.
As a pro, I was on the first World Cup team in '91 and then I was cut from the '95 team. Having resiliency and knowing that I didn't want to give up. Getting a call back before the '96 Olympics, I told myself that I was going to be the best that I could be. The first day of training, post getting back on the team, putting on that training jersey was the best moment I had.
How does the board decide which teams to give the award to?
Actually, the board doesn't decide who gets it. The trophy is earned by the athletes. The points are given by teams who win championships. At the end of the year, whoever has the most championships wins. Florida was ranked 18 going into the final season of championships and they won in track and field to win the Cup. Go to Facebook or CapitalOneCup.com or Twitter @CapitalOneCup to check it out.
So, which meant more to you, the World Cup wins or the Olympic wins?
I've had this question posed to me quite a few times. They're both unique and different. As a soccer player, the World Cup. That's a soccer tournament. In '99 it was the biggest women's tournament ever hosted. You get to call yourself a world champion. But there is something special about the Olympics with all of the best athletes get together. How amazing it is to see the collectiveness of the athletes that participate and then to realize that I exist in that family, that's overwhelming.
How surprised were you when the U.S. men failed to qualify for the Olympics?
Devastated. I was devastated. I was disappointed. Then I was upset. For so long women's soccer has been battling and battling and we have to scratch and claw for everything. Then the men's team that has a lot of resources fails to qualify. That shouldn't happen. Hopefully there will be changes made so that won't happen again.
What's the problem of professional women's soccer in the US while the MLS has been prospering?
I think No. 1 you have to have investors with deep pockets that aren't afraid to lose money. And you have to have space. Space on TV and sponsors that back you. Without TV in the sports world, you won't be able to make it. Sponsor dollars drive sports. It's not the ability of the players or the actual soccer that's the problem, it's how to manage soccer and TV. I hope one day I can be part of the solution to make that happen. It's not for lack of people wanting to see it. I also believe that we should not be separate from the MLS. Soccer should be united, because we're in an uphill battle as it is. Together we can make an even bigger splash.
did you have any rooting interests in the Cup seasons?
Of course! I wanted Santa Clara to have succes. That's where my husband coaches. But when I'm watching sports, people ask me who I want to win, and I usually answer the same. I just want to see a good game, a fair game. I love when athletes compete at a high level. As much as I am pro Santa Clara, I just want to see sportsmanship and respect for the game. That's what I love about sports.
Keep following Capital One Cup this next season. Watch the ESPYS tonight to see the presentation. They're the future of sports in this country. You can say that you watched him or her when they were young. Keep watching sports. That's why I'm so excited to be doing the Olympics. It celebrates the good of sports.