Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Commentary: The "Babe Factor" In Women's Soccer

The sight of the pony-tailed heroines of the U.S. World Cup soccer team kicking their way to victory against China on July 10 was a thrilling and perhaps historic moment for women's sports. Women, I have it on good authority (namely, my wife), will always treasure the image of 90,145 fans in various stages of hysteria gathered for the title game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., to celebrate an exceptional group of female athletes. Speaking for the men, however, I can say confidently (if a bit sheepishly), the Kodak Moment of the day was the sight of Brandi Chastain--in all her muscular glory--doffing her shirt.

It's a simplification, for sure. But face it: Chastain's post-match celebration, in which she peeled off her jersey to reveal only a sports bra, grabbed more attention than any balletic corner kick in the U.S. victory over China. Chastain says it was spontaneous, and maybe it was. Certainly, the photo-op snagged the media-savvy Chastain tons of exposure--and assured the game a place on countless front pages.