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25 Years Ago Today: USWNT Wins The First Star

wwc1991logoIt was twenty-five years ago today that the US women’s national team, coached by Anson Dorrance and *not* considered a pre-tournament favorite, won the first Women’s World Cup (then known as the FIFA Women’s World Championship for the M&M’s Cup) with a 2-1 win over Norway.

The inaugural Women’s World Cup was held in China during November 1991, with 12 teams participating in the final tournament, representing all six FIFA confederations. Rosters were limited to 18 players, and games were played every other day in the early stages (which could be one reason FIFA reduced the length of each half to 40 minutes).

Below is the full match video for those who want to enjoy a trip down memory lane (or perhaps see the 1991 WWC final for the first time, with the US women wearing adidas kits!) as well as a few interesting links related to the tournament. But first, here are the 18 players who comprised the team that won the first star:


# Player Pos College
1 Mary Harvey GK Berkeley
First woman & first American hired to run a FIFA division (Director of Development, 2003-2008)
2 April Heinrichs (capt) F UNC
First full-time technical director of USWNT programs (since 2011), USWNT head coach 2000-2005
3 Shannon Higgins UNC
Assisted both goals in the 1991 WWC final, 1989 MAC Player of the Year/Hermann Trophy winner, former college coach
4 Carla Werden (Overbeck) D UNC
Longtime USWNT captain, assistant coach at Duke University, WUSA champion 2002
5 Lori Henry UNC
Only player from inaugural USWNT match in 1985 to play in 1991 WWC, soccer coach in Pacific NW
6 Brandi Chastain F Santa Clara
Santa Clara assistant coach, broadcaster, 2001 WUSA champion
7 Tracey Bates UNC
First American to win WWC as both player (1991) and coach (2002, u19)
8 Linda Hamilton UNC
Starting fullback in all games in WWC 1991 and 1995, A-license coach, inaugurated Old Dominion program
9 Mia Hamm UNC
158 international goals, 2003 WUSA champion, 5-time FIFA Player of the Year, part-owner of LAFC
10 Michelle Akers F UCF
Winner of the 1991 Golden Boot, named FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2002 (w/Sun Wen)
11 Julie Foudy M Stanford
ESPN broadcaster, longtime USWNT captain, winner of the 1997 FIFA Fair Play Award
12 Carin Jennings (Gabarra) F UCSB
Winner of 1991 Golden Ball, headsoccer coach at the US Naval Academy
13 Kristine Lilly UNC
World record holder (men or women) for international caps (354), assistant coach at University of Texas
14 Joy Biefeld (Fawcett) D Berkeley
Original USWNT soccer mom, inaugurated UCLA women’s soccer team, assistant coach of US Deaf WNT
15 Wendy Gebauer F UNC
Former USWNT/WUSA broadcaster, first women to play in a men’s A-League (Div 2) match in the US
16 Debbie Belkin Massachusetts
Inaugurated Michigan women’s soccer program, member of National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
17 Amy Allmann GK UCF
University of Washington assistant coach, head coach US Deaf WNT that won 2016 Deaf World Cup
18 Kim Maslin-Kammerdeiner GK
Part of first team to defeat UNC in NCAA championship (1985), phys ed teacher in northern VA

Listen to interview with Amy Allmann on the Mixxed Zone

FIFA technical report for 1991 tournament

Michelle Akers’ game-winning goal – #4 on Sports Illustrated’s list of 10 Most Significant Goals in US Soccer history

Scott French of FourFourTwo remembers the 1991 Women’s World Cup


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