Brandi Chastain: Getting Cut from Team USA, Dealing With Injuries, Tackling New Challenges

– If you are open to the
potential opportunity, the potential growth, you can do anything. – This is Entrepreneur’s The Playbook where I give you access each week to the world’s greatest
athletes and executives about their personal and
professional playbook and what has made them
champions on and off the field. This is The Playbook. Hi, this is Dave Meltzer,
CEO of Sports 1 Marketing, here with Entrepreneur The Playbook, and what an honor it is to be here in Santa Clara with I
think the most notable athlete of Santa Clara
as far as I’m concerned, Brandi Chastain, Olympian
and humanitarian. Welcome to The Playbook. – Thank you so much, I’ll have to have a conversation with Brent Jones and
Steve Nash about that, but I’ll take, I’ll take it.
– That’s all right. – Thank you so much. – You know what, you
know, you can talk about different athletes and
running a big sports agency we’re always saying well who’s
the best at this and that? My opinion is more credible, (laughing) – Okay. – So you can tell Brent who’s my client, you can tell him Dave Meltzer said that you’re a more notable athlete and I’m sure too, walking the streets you would find it to be the same. As a marketing guy, I would
rather market you today than anyone else from Santa Clara. – [Brandi] That’s very nice. – And maybe I will in e sports
as we had that discussion. Well I’m gonna start with
something interesting that I heard that you said was that, it’s hard to have perspective
when things are going well. – [Brandi] Yeah. – And I found that, I actually
made my guys type that in because I’m a huge illusion
and perspective person and I wanted to really get
involved and understand, what did you mean by that? – Well I have to go way
back into my soccer career, you know even as a young kid,
soccer, for whatever reason came really easy for me, it
made sense, it felt right, I was successful and then in
my freshman year of college I tore my ACL and so being on the– – [Dave] And that was at Berkeley? – That was at Cal Berkeley. And so being on the
sideline for the first time was an eye opening experience, you know not to be the one
who was scoring all the goals or making all the assists
or really impacting the game in kind of a real concrete way, that was hard and so all of a sudden I kind of started sitting back and going, what did the other players
do, how do they feel, what is it, the routines
that they go through and I started learning a lot of lessons, one I learned that I was a
terrible teammate, first, that was the first thing I learned, like I need to change what I was doing and how I was approaching– – And why do you think you
were a terrible teammate, tell me a little bit about that? – Yeah I think I wasn’t a great teammate because I didn’t see the big picture, so it was really so very, the perspective was from just inside me, what did I need? What did I want, what was the things that, how could I, it was always I. – And you wanted the team to win. – Yeah I always wanted
the team to win, but if, and I coach young kids now, it’s like, I see this happening again and again whereas if I wasn’t the
one who was producing, I wasn’t as happy for the team’s success as I was when I did well
and the team was successful. – And if the team lost and you did well, how would you feel? – I think I was conflicted,
I was very conflicted about, you know, well I did my job,
if everybody else would do– – [Dave] Almost resentful,
would that be fair? – I don’t know if it was resentment but it could, I mean maybe it could lean towards that.
– But you were young. – [Brandi] Yeah I was
young, very dumb for sure. – I’m in that club. – Yeah so that was
tough, but then you know, I recovered from that and I kind of had a change in my academic career and I came home and I
went to a junior college and it was again it was
a good opportunity to say okay what am I doing, you know what is it that I really want to
achieve and then I decided to come to Santa Clara
University and literally, I think it was within
a week, maybe 10 days of making that decision,
I tore my other ACL. And so yeah, to have it done again, but I think again without that experience, and especially the second time, you know, because now I knew,
okay, it’s gonna be hard, it’s, you know, maybe it’s not fair, it’s not what you wanted,
it wasn’t your plan, how are you gonna go about
getting to the end result, which is being healthy and
being back on the field and being productive and so that for me, I think the second time,
just added to the perspective of the first time which was, it was all great until it wasn’t and then it was like wow,
I really didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about
it from a good perspective. – Did you think the first
time you injured yourself I’m sure, it sounds like you
saw it as a huge setback. – [Brandi] Totally. – The second time it sounds like almost you thought it was a setup. – It was a setup and an opportunity, I tool it more so as an
opportunity to be more prepared, you know, what I didn’t know before was, you know I came from a
family who, working class, you know, honest days work,
didn’t have a lot of knowledge about nutrition, I mean
I didn’t know anything about how nutrition and
sleep and proper preparation in terms of, maybe it
would be body training, weight training, cross training– – Stretching. – A lot of things, you
know, I just went out, I was, soccer, I was good at soccer, I played everything else
but just like overall, what was the plan and
how I was gonna get there and so I think the second one was like, okay, I got this and I can
be even more successful and ready to go, I mean I
think it took me about a year after my first knee injury
to really be back to myself, I didn’t have a year to be
ready in the second time around because my clock was ticking for the NCAA and I was about to start the season, which I got hurt in the spring
and fall is the season so it was six months to the day back playing, granted it was with a full brace but you know to get
there was a lot more work I think than I did before
but I was ready for it and it was amazing. – Was it the most fulfilling
thing that you did, you think, coming back that
quickly and so successfully? – I think just, I have
two comeback stories, I think that’s one and then the second is I was on the World Cup team in ’91 you know we win the championship
and it’s the first time ever in the history of women’s
soccer that we’re having a World Cup and then I was cut. No real explanation, no reason– – In ’93 you were cut right? – I was cut yeah and
then the next World Cup was ’95 and to not be on that team, that was like, that was
another gut check, you know, like okay perspective, so
to come back to that team, I think because I had
the previous experiences I realize here are the
things that I needed to do personally to be a better teammate so that I could be successful. – Did quitting ever, you
got cut, I could understand the injuries and you’re young, quitting probably didn’t
go through your mind when you were young at Berkeley, after, it’s like okay, how am I gonna come back and this is the first adversity I’m facing but you’re a little bit older
and you get cut from the team, did quitting cross you mind? – No I don’t think
quitting crossed my mind, I think what crossed my mind was, how am I gonna be better than I am when I feel like I’m really good, you know and how am I going to prove that I belong in that environment, you know, how do you
change someone’s mind, you know it’s like if
you have a boss who says, okay this is where you fit
and this is what you do, but you believe maybe
you have something more. You know how do you convince that person who already kind of has
a, a perspective of you, and so that was, I think that
was the hardest thing to do was to change the mind of somebody else by showing the actions, so it
was really action orientated for me and then the
openness of the coach to and then those two merged together. – To see, right and it’s
interesting cause we all think it’s not fair when it happens. – [Brandi] Yeah it didn’t feel fair. – In, you know, we’ve all been in classes, we’ve been in businesses
where somebody has a perspective of us and we have a choice. – Yes. – How do I change their perspective and it’s not by trying to force them to re-engineer the perspective
by convincing them with words – Definitely not. – We have to re-engineer
our own vision of ourselves and it sounds like that’s what you did, you were, I mean, wise beyond your years to say wait a second,
this might not be fair, I always tell my kids, the
only fairness that I know is down in Delmare with the
pigs and the Ferris wheel and that’s where you can find fair but if you’re expecting fair,
I haven’t seen it anywhere other than being fair to
yourself and being accountable. So you go back and re-engineer yourself, how did you re-engineer
yourself to convince the coaches that hey I deserve to be
on the next World Cup team. – I think the number one
thing was recognizing that there was an opportunity
going to be coming, you know with the conclusion
of the ’95 World Cup and we came in third place
which on a world level is pretty good– – I just wish the women
would get as much credit for being the world’s best– – We will, we’re working on it. – I’m a big fan and proponent
of equality in that measure and they should be paid
marketing dollars even more for what they’ve done. – [Brandi] Oh very nice. – Little speech and commercial but. – I appreciate that. So when I got a chance to be invited back to the training camp, I told myself, I had a conversation,
like sit down conversation with myself about being ready, right, and so what does it
mean for me to be ready, I had to work harder in a few areas, you know that was nutrition,
sleep, physical fitness, soccer part, just continue
doing what I was doing, so then I get the opportunity
to go to training camp for the first time at the end of ’95 and I think this is the
lesson I wasn’t expecting and the one that I always tell people be ready for this because it’s coming whether you believe it or
not, and that’s change, you know change is coming, so
don’t be surprised by change embrace change as a wonderful opportunity to explore yourself and
to find different things about yourself that maybe
you didn’t know existed so– – I’ve a great line for,
cause you’re a coach now. – [Brandi] Yes. – You have to use this for change, because I’ve learned this, I
forget who I stole this from but someone told me, I said, oh you know, it’s so hard to get people to change, I’m trying to motivate
these kids and blah blah, they said, make them
babies, I was like, what? Because babies are the only
ones that like to be changed. (laughing) – [Brandi] That’s funny, I had
not heard that, fair enough. – I hate to interrupt,
we’re testing your ADD. – No, no, no, I like it, I like it. So I went to the first training camp and it went really, it went really well, I told myself I’m gonna be
the best player on the field at that time US Soccer and the team was having a contract
issue, so the starting team and the pool was not there,
so this was the players who wanted to come up,
you know, younger players, maybe some players like myself
who had been there before, so I made a promise to myself, I’m going to make a
difference, I’m gonna be seen, I’m gonna be recognized,
my actions are gonna speak louder than my words and I did. And that was really the first time for me where it was like, I had to dig deeper than I ever ever had before to be ready, so then after the second training camp when they were making the decision about who would be coming in to
play for the first ever Olympic team, 1996, I mean my gosh, can you imagine what that, that’s like, the Olympics are so
different than the World Cup, which one’s better, I get
that question all the time, which one do you like more? They’re different, but to
be in the Olympic arena and the Olympic family is just something as a kid you grow up watching, I mean I watched The Dream Team and then I watched Miracle on Ice and I said I want to
do that and at the time I didn’t know what that
was but something about that American Flag and that
comradery and that patriotism so I wanted to be in that group. So after that second camp,
which I felt really good at, the team was back with,
the full group was back, we all had meetings we had a
sit down meeting just like this across a table and we said,
you’ve had a really great two camps and you know
my heart is pounding and you know you wanna hear
the things you wanna hear, which is, you know, we’re
gonna invite you back and so Tony, the late Tony
Dicicco, our coach at the time says, we want you on the team, we need you on this team
and oh my gosh like, I’m just feeling, aw I’m
just feeling so good, it’s like the best moment and he goes, but not as a forward, as a defender and it was like wah wah wah, right? (laughing) – The rest of the story hit you. – [Brandi] And you know my jaw,
I’m sure if it physically– – And had you played defender before? – No, if my jaw didn’t physically drop, that’s what it felt
like but in that moment, I had to decide, was my pride too big and say I’m a forward, this is what I do, or did I want to be on the
US Women’s National Team and go to the Olympics
and I certainly wanted to do the latter more than I wanted the– – Was Tony the one that
cut you as well in ’93? – [Brandi] No he wasn’t
but he was on the staff. – He took over, he was. – He was on the staff, he
worked with the goalkeepers strictly for the most part but then he became the head coach. And so in that moment it was like, this is my a-ha moment, this
is my, I’m taking it on, you know if I’m not good
enough to play between Kristine Lilly who’s played
more times than anyone on the planet Earth and
our captain Carla Overbeck then I shouldn’t be there anyway, so I’m gonna say yes and I think that was really the turning point,
it was the saying yes to something that was a little scary, unknown, you know not in my wheelhouse but how could I use the
strengths that I had as a forward in this new position and to be honest with you, it was, it wasn’t easy all the
time, it wasn’t always what I wanted to do but I
kind of saw things coming because I had been that other person, facing the defender so
I felt like at times I was ahead of the play and I
was like, oh this is awesome, so it was a great opportunity, – Now being the world’s best at something, one of the things I loved about and love about my profession is I believe surround yourself with the right people and the right ideas,
so I’ve been blessed to market the pro football Hall of Fame and to have a partner like
Warren Moon and Ronnie Lott and you know, because I
figured I’d take on that energy and to be able to
interview people like you, but when you’re hyper
competitive, I tell people this all the time, you can’t be
the worlds best at something unless one, you’re a little
bit OCD, if not a lot and two, you’re hyper
competitive, that’s what it takes, you know to be consistent every
day, persistent without quit but with those other
qualities, but at times I see every great athlete and world’s best, they’re asked to surrender in some way and it’s such a conflict
cause you are the queen of being competitive and
winning and everything going your way and then the universe tells Warren Moon you can’t
play quarterback anymore, you’re going to Canada for six years or, you know Ronnie’s hurt, you
know cut of your finger, but there’s a moment of
surrender, how do you reconcile that competitive OCD superpower against there’s a power greater
than I and I’m gonna make, you said, I forget the words you used, we’ll have to go back on the tape when you said something like,
this was my a-ha moment, I’m gonna use this to be even better and expand higher and greater. – Well I think I go back
to the injury situation, sitting on the sideline and, you know, I really never understood
the emotional side, the mental side of
participating in athletics and how that really could be
transformative on the field in a physical manifestation, right, so if I was weak mentally,
if I didn’t like something and it got to me, I
was weaker on the field and I never, you know I
never thought about it, if I didn’t like the decision of somebody, it made me weaker when I
needed to be strong and so– – It’s like forgiveness, right,
I tell people all the time, you don’t forgive other
people cause they deserve it, forgive because you deserve it and it’s the same– – [Brandi] Let it go. – Right, you deserve this, but you know, you think about those attacking thoughts that you’re less than you are, there’s a shortage, void
or obstacle than you are, you don’t give any energy to it and the universe comes
back and rewards you, what happened at the end
of that great switch to– – Olympic gold medals and
World Cup Championships, but I think also now it’s an opportunity to be a coach of young
girls and mentor them for these very same lessons, it’s like, you know, we all, I think
every generation is the same, you know, everybody wants
to find that comfort zone and that happiness and be successful to whatever that definition is for them but, you know, when we’re
young, we don’t have perspective and when we’ve had things good, we don’t understand hardship
and so I’m trying to just impart on them these little stories and as a reminder to
myself even as a coach, I don’t have it all right,
I don’t know all the answers and I’m vulnerable to
that and I let them know, like it’s okay not to know all the answers and it’s okay not to be
the one always scoring or making the right
decision and that’s okay, but if you accept that
then you can move forward cause if you don’t accept it
then you’re not going forward you know, if you are open to
the potential opportunity, the potential growth, you can
do anything, without a doubt. – It’s interesting as an empowering woman and you do so much for women,
but I’m in a stage of my life, I’ve three daughters and a little boy, I grew up with five boys and a sister, my mom’s my hero and so I
have a different perspective cause I really think with
women who are so successful in sports, right, you
are a great golfer now and that is really important
that boys look up to you as much as we empower all these girls, I think it’s really important
for these stories to be shared to the similarities to
be brought out enhanced, instead of, a lot of times we’re trying to figure out the differences,
to protect everybody, equality and I think a lot of times, someone like you can really
bring together everyone, we did the Rose Bowl inspire videos and it was amazing, you know, it’s really empowering the
Rose Bowl legacy itself and I’m just amazed of
all generations of men who are predominantly
involved with the Rose Bowl because it was originally
just known for football, a very male dominated sport,
especially college football and yet I’m just amazed how many people, you know we do these internet things about their favorite video
and their most inspirational person and your name
comes up and it makes me feel so great because I like
to know that as a father, I’m going to go home tonight,
talk to my eight year old and tell him guess who I got to meet and then have him Google
you because I could never do it justice right and when he does that he’s blind to, because he
just sees this athletic hero, right the one who could
sink the winning putt still when she’s playing with men and women and have a great time. Leading to the last questions, you know the world changes so fast, we were talking about e sports,
we’re talking about videos, we’re talking about
Olympics and World Cups and who knows what else, what legacy and you do so much already to give back but what legacy when it’s all done, would you like to leave? – Legacy’s a big word,
I mean that’s a lot of, it’s a lot of gravity,
I think in that word and I think initially our
teams, World Cup teams and Olympic teams, the
legacy was that we brought more girls to soccer and
more people to soccer, boys, girls, men, women, you know, somebody who’d never
watched soccer before, someone who loves soccer– – Like the Tiger Woods of golf right, that brought so many people in. – Yeah, we brought so
many people to the game and then, you know, as
time has kind of gone between that last Olympic games in 2004 or that World Cup in ’99, then it became, okay but what else, like
you bring people there but, you know, what does that mean and then I started working with the Concussion Legacy Foundation. – You donated your brain. – And I donated my brain and
I started thinking about, well I was working here at Santa Clara with the Institute of
Sports Law and Ethics and every year we would give out an award and it just so happened
that Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski were the recipients of our ethos award for the
work that they were doing in studying the brains
and CTE and you know, very important work and
the idea of protecting those who are the most
vulnerable, as a parent you understand that, like
you would do anything to protect your kids and so I said, after we gave them their
award we had a board meeting and it was like, okay
what are we gonna do next and I, without thinking,
well previous thinking before the meeting, I had
thought about it prior but like, you know, I
raised my hand and I said, I’d like to take heading
out of youth soccer and all of a sudden they’re all like, okay lets do it and I was
like, oh my gosh, okay. – Rule change.
– Okay what are we gonna do. So then, so you know, we started
with raising the age limit to 11 and that to me is a legacy, is can you make change for the good and yes we brought people and
that is change for the good, of course, more eyes, more
people participating in soccer, loving the game, sharing
the game, life lessons, all those things, amazing,
but if we can continue to do that while making
sure that those that are participating are safer,
and can exercise their right to play and to be healthy for longer because the masses are the
ones who are playing the game, the elite are the very small percentage then I feel like I’ve added
to the legacy of soccer and that for me will be
the biggest accomplishment that I could make, that we
made it safer so more people could play and enjoy the
game for a longer time. – That’s awesome. Well I really appreciate your time, you are leaving and have left
already your living legacy and I know that cause I have,
not only three daughters but soon to be a son who look up to you. – [Brandi] I appreciate that. – And I encourage that because
you’re the type of person that I would love my daughters to become, whatever field it’s in,
with your value systems so I really appreciate your time. I have Brandi Chastain,
gold medalist in my heart, World Cup winner, amazing person, Dave Melzter CEO The Playbook.

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