LOS GATOS: With a film based on the book “The Girls of Summer: The US Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World,” the streaming giant will tell the tale of the USA’s second World Cup victory in 1999.
Four times world champions and the winners of the most recent FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, the United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) has many famous victories to its credit.
However, few will be remembered more than one of the most dramatic matches in the history of women’s soccer, which took place 20 years earlier in the World Cup Final of 1999.
Following the acquisition of the rights to “The Girls of Summer: The US Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World,” published in 2000 by New York Times journalist Jere Longman, Netflix is planning to tell the story of the team that won that game in a forthcoming feature film.
Composed at the time of such remarkable players as Mia Hamm, Briana Scurry, Kristine Lilly and Julie Foud, the team fought its way to the final of the World Cup on July 10, 1999, before winning a knife-edge victory over China in a game that ended in a penalty shoot-out.
Brandi Chastain the scorer of the final goal then tore off her jersey to celebrate in her sports bra, a strong image that has remained engraved in the memories of many soccer fans.
It is not yet known if the project, which does not yet have a shooting schedule, a definitive title or an appointed director, will be a straight documentary with archive footage and interviews with the players of the day or a more fictionalized work.
However it has been revealed that Liza Chasin through the company 3dot Productions (“Baby Driver”) and Hayley Stool via Ándale Productions will co-produce the film alongside Ross Greenburg, the former president of HBO Sports.
In a statement, Vice President of Netflix films, Tendo Nagenda, enthusiastically welcomed the new project, which she finds particularly inspiring: “As a longtime soccer fan, I can still remember watching that groundbreaking game in Union Square.
“When I moved to Uganda in my teens, playing soccer was an important way to meet kids my own age (even if our balls were made up of dried banana leaves). That was also true when I left my first job in Los Angeles to take summer film classes in New York City in 1999.
“In between stealing shots and locations, my collaborators and I would stand outside bars to see the Women’s World Cup series. Watching the USA team that summer made me forget I had no money and little more than a dream to feed me.
“That team, that goal, and Brandi Chastain’s unforgettable reaction – in which she ripped off her shirt and dropped to her knees in astonishment – made me believe I could do anything, and do it my way.”