U.S. women take Manhattan
By Sharon Crenson, Associated Press, 07/13/99
NEW YORK - They are becoming regulars on the sidewalks of Manhattan.
After rounds of television appearances and a night of celebration at a Chinese restaurant and nightclub, the U.S. women's soccer team was hailed one more time Tuesday at a midtown rally.
Dozens of ponytailed girls squealed at the players' every move and grown men dived for soccer bowls thrown into the crowd.
The mostly male gathering gave its heartiest cheer for a framed photo of Brandi Chastain in her sports bra.
Chastain's shot sent the United States to the Women's World Cup title Saturday, a 5-4 penalty-kicks victory over China after a 0-0 tie. She then skidded to her knees and ripped off her jersey before a Rose Bowl crowd of 90,185.
After nonstop celebrations, the soccer bandwagon may have lost some of its steam Tuesday. Only a few hundred fans attended the rally, and attempts at a chant of "USA, USA'' died quickly.
But that was not enough to spoil the day for dozens of girls who couldn't wait to get a glimpse of Mia Hamm & Co.
Asked whether men's soccer could compete for her attention, 13-year-old Caitlin Cittarelli said there was no question.
"Everybody knows the women try harder,'' the Stratford, Conn., girl replied. "It's great because, I mean, they represent our country so well.''
Caroline Bishop, 16, of suburban Malverne, has played soccer since kindergarten. She said she favors the women's team "because they can actually win.''
The players swapped jerseys with a handful of young fans who brought their own junior-sized uniform shirts.
"I have no idea what to say. I'm completely overwhelmed,'' Chastain said.
"We need you to be successful,'' she told the fans. "Thank you very much for coming.''