Where Are They Now? USWNT's 1996 Olympic team
They had 16 players and three alternates. Their previous triumph in the 1991 Women’s World Cup, then called the “FIFA Women’s World Championship for the M&M’s Cup,” was unknown to most of the American public. In the days before NBC could devote several cable channels and unlimited online streaming to the Olympics, their games were doomed to get the occasional highlight and nothing else.
And still, the 1996 U.S. women’s soccer team captured the public’s imagination in the Olympics, winning gold in front of 76,489 fans at the University of Georgia’s massive football stadium. The crowds were a precursor to what was to come in 1999.
You know Julie Foudy is now an ESPN analyst and reporter. You know Mia Hamm married Nomar Garciaparra and has invested in MLS club LAFC and joined AS Roma’s board of directors. But where is the rest of the United States women's national team's 1996 Olympic squad now? FFT checks in:
Given all that followed in the goalkeeper’s career – being controversially thrust into the lineup when internal discord forced out Hope Solo in 2007, ending her career after suffering a concussion in WPS, a brief stint as a front-office executive with the colorful magicJack team – it’s easy to forget how great Briana Scurry was, especially in the WUSA and in the 1999 World Cup. She didn’t just stop one penalty kick against China. She held back Brazil by the force of will in the semifinal.
Scurry now draws upon the ups and downs of her soccer career in her speaking career, giving talks everywhere from corporate offices to classrooms about everything from pressure to LGBT issues.
The Olympics marked the former forward’s return to the U.S. team as a defender who had no trouble getting forward and scoring. And perhaps you saw her penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup.
She was never camera-shy, and she has been a constant TV presence both as a commentator and a competitor. She has been on game shows (Jeopardy, Weakest Link), sports events (Pros vs. Joes, The Superstars), and even reality shows (diving competition Splash, cooking competition Chopped). Her charity, Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI), was the beneficiary of her $50,000 prize for winning on Chopped.
Away from TV, she’s an advocate for concussion awareness with SAFER Soccer, which lobbies to limit heading in youth soccer, and she’s an assistant coach for the Bellarmine College Prep boys’ soccer team and a volunteer assistant for her husband, longtime Santa Clara University coach Jerry Smith.
The longtime team captain and central defensive cornerstone played through the 2000 Olympics before retiring from the national team, though she also managed a couple of seasons in the WUSA with the Carolina Courage, playing in her old college stomping grounds at North Carolina.
But the Tar Heel great is also a Blue Devil. She has been an assistant coach at Duke since 1992. Last year’s Duke team reached the NCAA final before falling 1-0 to Penn State, and the Blue Devils return a talented core.
Before the term became a cliché, Fawcett took “soccer mom” to extremes. She already had one daughter before the Olympics, then another the year afterward, then another the year after the 2000 Olympics. As if she wasn’t busy enough, she was also the head coach for UCLA’s women through the mid-90s. (Two years after she resigned to focus on her playing career, the new UCLA coach was one Jill Ellis.)
She played with the San Diego Spirit in the WUSA and stayed with the national team for one last Olympic run in 2004, playing every minute as the team claimed another gold medal. All that despite a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Her eldest daughter, Katey, has already finished her college soccer career at Washington. Carli Fawcett is now a rower at Willamette University, and youngest daughter Madilyn plays youth soccer in California.
As for Mom? She never really sought the spotlight, but she recently collected another world title as assistant coach of the U.S. deaf women’s national team.
She kept playing. And playing. She missed the 2008 Olympics to give birth to her first daughter, but she returned to the Boston Breakers in WPS and played a few more games for the national team before finally stepping away at age 39.
Lilly now has two daughters but keeps her feet in the game through the Team First Soccer Academy, a program she started with Mia Hamm and Tisha Venturini-Hoch, and she has worked with Coerver Coaching to spread the joy of skillful ball control to the next generation.
A starter in 1996, with two goals in the group stage, the North Carolina alumna made the most of limited playing time in 1999, scoring twice to subdue North Korea in her sole start of the World Cup. She didn’t make the team for the 2000 Olympics but returned to the field with the San Jose (later Bay Area) CyberRays in the WUSA.
Today, she’s a mother of two and a coach with Hamm and Lilly at the Team First Soccer Academy.