5 Things We Want to See in the Upcoming 1999 USWNT Film

Ali Rampling
May 14, 2020, 3:53 PM GMT+1
1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
1999 FIFA Women's World Cup | David Madison/Getty Images

Netflix have confirmed that they have secured the rights to Jere Longman’s book The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World, which depicts the USWNT famous triumph at the 1999 World Cup.

The USA won the tournament on home soil in front of a record crowd of 90,185, beating China on penalties in the final thanks to Brandi Chastain's iconic winning spot kick.

The victory was a watershed moment for women's football in the United States, and Netflix have the perfect cinematic story on their hands.

So what do we want to see crop up in the film?

Well Crafted Football Action

David Madison/Getty Images

The best football films are about the people and their stories, meaning there is not actually a lot of proper football action. The Damned United is the prime example - and a sizeable chunk of that is genuine archive footage as opposed to attempting to get actors to play football.

Hopefully this is the route that the USWNT film will go down, focussing more on the players' journeys and battles while weaving in old footage.

And if we do get the actors playing football, let's try and get them looking like actual footballers. Kuno Becker's love of a Maradona turn in Goal! and Sylvester Stallone's slide tackling goalkeeper in Escape to Victory should be stayed well away from.

The Journey

Michelle Akers-Stahl (C) who scored two
Michelle Akers-Stahl (C) who scored two | TOMMY CHENG/Getty Images

Despite how monumental their World Cup win was, the 1999 triumph was not actually the USA's maiden title.

The USA had won the first ever official World Cup in 1991 (or as it was called at the time, the 1st FIFA World Championship for Women's Football for the M&M's Cup), but received few plaudits upon their arrival back home as world champions.

The US Soccer Federation instead continued to pool all their resources into the male side, with the 1994 World Cup on home soil fast approaching.

The 1999 World Cup win was not just a single tournament where the USA swanned up, won it and became superstars. It was an accumulation of a decade of hard work that saw an incredible set of athletes finally earn the recognition they deserved. Although the film is all about the 1999 World Cup, a reminder of the depth of the side's journey adds to the enormity of their achievement.

Unbelievable Casting

Elsa/Getty Images

The 1999 women's team and their late, great coach Tony DiCicco are sporting icons, and they deserve have their stories done justice by a selection of A-listers.

We're talking your Anne Hathaways your Jennifer Lawrences, your Scarlett Johananssons. Why not get Keira Knightly to dust off her old football boots and brush up on her American accent too?

Or alternatively they could go full Escape to Victory and throw in an eclectic mix of current pros instead. Carli Lloyd as Mia Hamm, Julie Ertz as Kristine Lilly, Jill Scott as Michelle Akers.

Contextual Issues

1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
1999 FIFA Women's World Cup | Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

While the USWNT were competing for glory on the pitch, they were also battling to change attitudes off it. Even today the side face huge animosity in their fight to be paid the same as their male counterparts, so in 1999 sexism and sexualisation towards the team was rife.

We want a no frills look at everything the USWNT had to contend with off the pitch.

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter is right in celebration shots with the USA when they lift the trophy. Five years later he suggested that female footballers should wear tighter kit to boost the sport's profile.

Maybe give Blatter a little cameo, designing kits and laughing at female officials with Andy Gray and Richard Keys to give the film an authentic 90s feel.

The Ultimate Recreation of Brandi Chastain's Celebration

HECTOR MATA/Getty Images

Brandi Chastain's winning penalty kick, followed by her ripping her shirt off and dropping to her knees in celebration in her famous black sports bra is an iconic sporting image.

It is the image that changed the face of the women's game, and to see that immortalised on the big screen, accompanied with an absolute corker of a soundtrack, is just what is deserves.