Soccer star Brandi Chastain headlines Girls and Women in Sports Day at UCSC

Soccer star Brandi Chastain, one of the best-known women athletes in the world and a role model for a generation of girls, will headline the March 8 celebration at UC Santa Cruz of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Chastain, a former Olympic soccer player and a member of the 1999 Women's World Cup championship soccer team, will deliver the keynote address during the celebration, which will take place in the East Field House at UCSC. The event is free and open to the public. Registration opens at 10:30 a.m. and the program will run from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Chastain is scheduled to speak at 12:50 p.m.

In addition, a panel discussion will feature five women athletes, including Watsonville boxing champion Carina Moreno, UCSC goalie Katherine Loomis, San Lorenzo Valley High School baseball player Kitt Allenser, and Harbor High School soccer player Tania Ortega. Small-group outdoor activities for all levels and abilities will also be offered, including Ultimate Frisbee, shadow boxing with Moreno, and soccer with Loomis and Ortega.

Other highlights include door prizes, a tribute to UCSC's mascot Sammy the Slug (who was recently recognized by ESPN), and remarks by Gabby Houston, who coached the Mount Madonna High School girls volleyball team to the 2007 state championship.

"The theme is 'All In,' and everyone is invited," said organizer Alina Tejera. "It's about inclusion," she said. "We want everyone to come, regardless of how active or athletic they are."

Chastain became a household name after she scored the tournament-winning penalty kick for the U.S. team during the 1999 Women's World Cup championship against China. In a spontaneous celebration of victory, Chastain peeled off her jersey, fell to her knees, and raised her arms in triumph, an image captured in photographs that appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated magazines. Raised in San Jose and a graduate of Santa Clara University, Chastain is the author of It's Not About the Bra: How to Play Hard, Play Fair, and Put the Fun Back into Competitive Sports.

Chastain is the cofounder of the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI), which is bringing its community outreach program to Santa Cruz at Gault Elementary School. Through BAWSI, college athletes lead after-school fitness programs for at-risk girls in low-income communities.

Free parking for the event will be available in the East Remote Parking Lot. The event is being cosponsored by the UCSC Women's Center and the Office of Physical Education, Recreation, and Sports (OPERS). For more information, contact the UCSC Women's Center at (831) 459-2072.