FourFourTwo's top 25 players in U.S. women's national team history: No. 5
5. Joy Fawcett
There are no moms on the 2016 Olympic team, which might seem unusual to the veteran players who have had children in tow for every major tournament dating back to the 1996 Olympic Games. It was Joy Fawcett who became the original Soccer Mom that summer, playing every minute of the tournament and assisting on the gold-medal winner to Tiffeny Milbrett barely two years after giving birth to her daughter, Katelyn. Two more children followed and both times she returned to play in World Cups.
Fawcett was a rock on the iconic 1999 team, famously scoring against Germany in the tense, come-from-behind quarterfinal win (a goal that won her a bet with Kate Sobrero (Markgraff) that forced her to dye her hair red) and burying the second of five penalties in the shootout that ended with a shirtless Brandi Chastain. At Cal-Berkeley, she was a three-time All American and set the school record by scoring 23 goals in a season.
But it was not offense but defense where Fawcett made her name on the international stage. For more than a decade she was a nearly impermeable force on the U.S. backline that routinely stifled the best attacking players in the world. Understated on and off the field, Fawcett (who began her career as Joy Biefeld before marrying her husband Walter) was rarely in the spotlight and seemed to prefer it that way. Former U.S. coach Tony DiCicco recently named her and Milbrett as players from the 1996 Olympic team that never received their due praise.
Fawcett ended her career with two World Cup titles and two Olympics gold medals, in addition to the silver medal in 2000 and a pair of third-place finishes at the World Cup. She is currently an assistant coach for the U.S. women’s deaf national team that won its second consecutive Deaf World Cup earlier this year.