In celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the U.S. Women’s National Team capturing the 1999 Women’s World Cup, ESPN will air a one-hour special, espnW Presents: The ‘99ers, Reunited, on Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Filmed April 8 at ESPN’s Los Angeles studios during the ‘99ers and USWNT reunion weekend, the special is hosted by espnW writer and ESPN commentator Julie Foudy, and features fellow ‘99er teammates Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Briana Scurry, Kristine Lilly and Brandi Chastain. The special leads into the USWNT’s friendly in St. Louis against New Zealand at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. Both the ’99ers special and the USWNT friendly are also available to stream on the ESPN App.
The discussion throughout the special focuses on their favorite stories of that team, what that World Cup victory meant to them, where they see the state of the women’s game in the United States, their views on the push for equal pay, how they view their legacies and what they’re looking for from the USWNT this summer at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
The ‘99ers were also reunited on stage at The espnW Summit NYC just last week, joining espnW columnist and ESPN radio host Sarah Spain as part of a panel titled “The Team That Changed It All: The World Cup Champion ‘99ers.” Chastain, Foudy, Lilly and Scurry discussed their victory, the incredible strides it took to gain marketing success post-World Cup, what life would have been like if social media existed back in 1999 and their thoughts on the current USWNT heading into the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The panel is available to watch in full on espnW.com.
Additionally, a special episode of 30 for 30 Podcasts, which debuted on Sunday, May 12, explores a lesser-known part of the ‘99ers legacy. Listen to “Back Pass” episode here.
The 1999 Women’s World Cup transformed Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and the National Team into celebrities overnight. They used their newfound fame to launch the world’s first women’s professional soccer league: WUSA. With millions in investment from big-name cable companies, the league gave the stars of ‘99 the stability of a full-time job. And for the first time, hundreds of former college soccer players had the opportunity to live their dream and be professional athletes.
WUSA featured the best women’s soccer players from around the world, but mismanagement and tension with the U.S. Soccer Federation put the league’s future in jeopardy. After three years and $100 million in losses, the league’s investors began to waver. The WUSA stars may have been vastly more popular than their male counterparts in MLS, but they found their league being held to a higher standard of viability. This 30 for 30 Podcast, featuring USWNT stars Julie Foudy, Briana Scurry, and Shannon Boxx, tells the story about how the stars of the ‘99 World Cup Team built a league from scratch and fought to keep it alive.
30 for 30 Podcasts can be found on the ESPN App, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn and wherever podcasts are available. 30 for 30 Podcasts, which first debuted in July 2017, tell original sports stories in the likeness of the acclaimed 30 for 30 documentaries, but made exclusively for audio.