'The 99ers': Director's Moment
About the film
The world of women's sports was kicked upside down on July 10, 1999. Before a sold-out crowd of more than 90,000 at the Rose Bowl and an estimated 40 million Americans watching on television, the U.S. women's soccer team reached a cultural and athletic pinnacle with its penalty-kick shootout victory against China to win the Women's World Cup.
As told through the voice of then-team captain Julie Foudy, we get an inside look at the strong team ethic and rare "do for each other" mentality that propelled the squad to victory that summer and turned the team into a cultural touchstone.
With unprecedented access, "The 99ers" uses candid, behind-the-scenes footage shot by the players during the three-week tournament to present a unique portrait of the women who irrevocably changed the face of women's athletics.
Click here to learn more about the film and its director, Erin Leyden.
What it was all about
The U.S. women's national team became part of the social conversation after its historic win in 1999. And while the sport has struggled to create a viable connection at the professional level in the United States (the third incarnation of a pro league, the National Women's Soccer League, will soon wrap up its inaugural season), women's soccer has a strong bond with its American fans.
That connection begins at the top -- between the 1999 team and current U.S. women's national team members.
"The Abby Wambachs, Alex Morgans, the Heather O'Reillys -- they have so much reverence and respect for the women that played in 1999 and just what they did for the sport and how they've grown the game," Leyden said. "It's really interesting to see how that legacy has been passed on. ...
"A lot of the ideals that the '99 team believed in so much continued for today's team, and I think that is also attributable to some of their success, as well -- that idea of 'team first,' the idea of just doing anything and everything it takes to win."
DIRECTOR'S TAKE: ERIN LEYDEN
Director Erin Leyden breaks down an important scene from the film "The 99ers":
The hardest time about that whole experience was, every day after practice, when you guys would get to get on the bus and I couldn't get on because I had to do the [media] interviews. Because I know how special those moments are. I knew it wasn't about me ... it was about you and I was a reflection of what you guys mean to me. That was my goal [in front of the camera] -- to make sure I let you know that I appreciated you and I played for you guys.Mia Hamm, from the Nine for IX film "The 99ers"