Chastain remains dedicated to youth
When Brandi Chastain talks about why she does so much work with young people, she says it’s all about the layers.
Actually it really comes down to just this. Chastain knows working with young people is the right thing to do.
Brandi, who at one time was one of the world’s most recognizable names in soccer due to her experience with the U.S. Women’s soccer team, talked about her dedication to youth during a conference call on Thursday. Brandi was also promoting the first Chastain Soccer Academy camps that are coming to Northern Nevada. Brandi and her brother, Chad, will be in Reno and Carson City next month to conduct the camps.
“I think there’s a lot of layers for me,” said Chastain about why she’s involved in numerous youth projects, including next month’s camps.
“There’s the personal association that I had as a player with camps. I feel there’s a responsibility I have as an ambassador for soccer.”
Chastain also admitted there’s a business-side to it. But she also said the attributes she learned to become successful came through soccer. “All those things I learned on the soccer field,” she said.
The soccer camps are a natural fit for this area since Brandi and Chastain have family in Carson City, including their grandparents, Roger and Hazel Chastain. But Brandi said it also makes sense to bring the camps to Northern Nevada because it’s a growing area and to give area youth opportunities “they wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Brandi said what the youth will learn will go well beyond the four days they participate in the camp. She said the costs of the camps will be miniscule compared to their benefits and that the camps aren’t just about affecting young people’s soccer games, but their lifestyles as well.
“We love what we dod and we want other people to feel the same way about it,” she said.
She also said she wouldn’t do anything she doesn’t enjoy. “I can’t think of anything I’d rather do,” Brandi said.
Among her enterprises is a non-profit project in which she mentors youth. “They give me a chance to get out to the playground,” Brandi said. “How wonderful is that?”
With the deaths of both of their parents, Brandi said the relationship between she and her brother and their grandparents has become more important than ever.
“We want to make them proud,” Brandi said. “My grandfather can’t stop talking about us. That’s what he gets to do.”
Brandi is most remembered for when she took off her jersey after scoring the winning goal on a penalty kick against China to give the United States the title in the 1999 World Cup at the Rose Bowl. In the process, Chastain exposed her sports bra.
At that time it wasn’t uncommon for female athletes to train in sports bras, but women’s sports hadn’t received enough attention yet to prevent Chastain’s move from causing a stir.
“I was a little surprised,” said Chastain about the reaction she caused. “I didn’t know what to expect at all. I was suprised that it caused that much commotion in a positive way.”
While there were many positives from what happened, Chastain said, she added one of the most positive aspects was it young female athletes more freedom to express their joy.
“They kind of got that liberty,” Chastain said. “It’s all about fun and celebration. It’s perfect.”
Besides, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team would train in their sports bras in 100-degree heat in Florida, Brandi said. And it should be noted, it was 90-plus degrees at the Rose Bowl when Brandi took off her jersey.
“That part was very, very tame as far as I was concerned,” said Brandi, comparing what she did at the Rose Bowl to how the U.S. women’s team would train in Florida.
Chastain and many of the original members of the U.S. Women’s team went out on top at the 2004 Olympics when she would the gold medal. Or did Chastain go out on top?
She’s still holding out hope that she can rejoin the U.S. women’s team for the 2008 Olympics. Chastain said if she doesn’t believe in herself, how can she tell young people to believe in themselves. “I’m not done playing soccer,” she said.
Along with the Chastains there will be several prominent national coaches at the camps. There will be a camp held from 9 a.m.-noon June 19-22 at Reno’s South Valley Sports Complex and two camps held at Edmonds Park, one from 9 a.m.-noon June 25-28 and one from 1:30-4:30 p.m. June 25-28.
The camps will be for boys and girls 9-17, although 8-year-olds will be welcome as well. Cost is $225.
Brandi is hopeful that she and Chad will be able to conduct a parents seminar during the camps as well. The seminars would be designed to help parents learn more about soccer and how to help their children with issues like pursuing a higher level of play.
Brandi said she didn’t know if there would be an additional charge for the seminar or if it would be offered for free. “I’m a soccer mom as well,” she said.
Those who participate in the camps will learn the same values that Brandi learned with the U.S. women’s team, she said.
“At the end of the day you’re going to feel good about the the work you put in,” she said.