Women in Sports: Soccer

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
  • In 1991 Jo Ann Fairbanks became the first American female referee to serve at an international soccer event when she was a lineswoman in the women's qualifying rounds for the North and Central American and Caribbean regional soccer tournament in Haiti.
  • The first women's World Cup was won by the United States soccer team in December 1991.
  • Soccer finally became an Olympic sport in 1996, and the U.S. team won the gold medal. The Americans also took home the silver in Sydney in 2000, losing in overtime in the gold medal game to Norway, 3-2.
  • American star Mia Hamm has more goals in international play than any other woman.
  • In front of 90,185 fans (the largest crowd to ever watch a women's sporting event) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. the U.S. women's national soccer team and China played to a 0-0 tie in the final match at the 1999 World Cup. The U.S. won the game and its second World Cup by beating China 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout. Brandi Chastain scored the game-winner for the Americans. Germany took home the honors in the 2003 Women's World Cup.
  • A new American women's professional league, the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), made its debut in 2001. Eight teams competed in the inaugural season - Atlanta Beat, Bay Area CyberRays, Boston Breakers, Carolina Courage, New York Power, Philadelphia Charge, San Diego Spirit, and Washington Freedom. The WUSA discontinued operations in 2003.

    In 2007, the eight teams of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) were re-established under a new organization called Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS).

  • Opening the 2008 Algarve Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated China by 4-0.
  • The 2012 London Summer Olympics brought the third straight Olympic gold for the American women soccer team. They defeated Japan 2-1 to take the gold. Midfielder Carli Lloyd scored both goals, avenging a big loss to Japan in last year's World Cup final. The 80,203 in attendance at Wembley Stadium was the largest ever for a women's soccer match at the Olympics. The game was watched by 4.35 million views, the most in NBC Sports Network history. The 1.5 million watching on the internet also made Olympic history.
Mia Hamm
Mia Hamm
AP Photos

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