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The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How It Changed the World

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Now with a new afterword, The Girls of Summer, by the award- winning New York Times sportswriter Jere Longman, takes a serious, compelling look at the women who won the 1999 World Cup and brings to life the skills and victories of the American team. Longman explores the issues this unprecedented achievement has raised: the importance of the players as role models; the sign Now with a new afterword, The Girls of Summer, by the award- winning New York Times sportswriter Jere Longman, takes a serious, compelling look at the women who won the 1999 World Cup and brings to life the skills and victories of the American team. Longman explores the issues this unprecedented achievement has raised: the importance of the players as role models; the significance of race and class; the sexualization of the team members; and the differences between men and women's sports. Provocative and insightful, this book reminds us that the real struggles are off the field -- and some remain to be won.


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Now with a new afterword, The Girls of Summer, by the award- winning New York Times sportswriter Jere Longman, takes a serious, compelling look at the women who won the 1999 World Cup and brings to life the skills and victories of the American team. Longman explores the issues this unprecedented achievement has raised: the importance of the players as role models; the sign Now with a new afterword, The Girls of Summer, by the award- winning New York Times sportswriter Jere Longman, takes a serious, compelling look at the women who won the 1999 World Cup and brings to life the skills and victories of the American team. Longman explores the issues this unprecedented achievement has raised: the importance of the players as role models; the significance of race and class; the sexualization of the team members; and the differences between men and women's sports. Provocative and insightful, this book reminds us that the real struggles are off the field -- and some remain to be won.

30 review for The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How It Changed the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kim. E.

    July 10, 1999. 90,185 fans in the stands and over 40 million on television. One hundred and five degrees on the field after regulation, and two overtime periods it all came down to penalty kicks in a stadium that went silent. My daughter begged me for three years to start playing soccer (beginning at age 3) before I finally relented. She also played softball, basketball, ran track, and played football, but even at that age she knew where her true love resided. After my years of reluctance by the July 10, 1999. 90,185 fans in the stands and over 40 million on television. One hundred and five degrees on the field after regulation, and two overtime periods it all came down to penalty kicks in a stadium that went silent. My daughter begged me for three years to start playing soccer (beginning at age 3) before I finally relented. She also played softball, basketball, ran track, and played football, but even at that age she knew where her true love resided. After my years of reluctance by the time of this game we were both jumping up and down screaming in joy in our living room. One of my favorite memories is taking her a couple months later to another stadium that was over 100 degrees in the shade as she stood within feet of not only her all time favorite female player still to date, but also to meet many of the other players from the other countries during this victory tour. Author Jere Longman does an excellent service to not only the specifics of that one pinnacle game, but offers a journey mixed throughout of the years leading up to this game, insight into the personalities and lives of each of the players and coaches, and the travails of traveling to other countries in the early years of women's soccer when they were afraid to sleep without their shoes on or how they learned to carry the intensity needed to win this World Cup.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Kelly

    Book Title: The Girls of Summer Author: Jere Longman Review by: Sarah Kelly The U.S. Women’s National Team took the world by storm when they won the World Cup in 1999. Although this was not their first World Cup win, it was the most memorable one. The crowd consisted of 90, 185 people. This was a record for any women’s sporting event, at the time. Jere Longman, the author of the book, The Girls of Summer, gives us a first-hand look at the preparation, the dedication, and the events leading up to th Book Title: The Girls of Summer Author: Jere Longman Review by: Sarah Kelly The U.S. Women’s National Team took the world by storm when they won the World Cup in 1999. Although this was not their first World Cup win, it was the most memorable one. The crowd consisted of 90, 185 people. This was a record for any women’s sporting event, at the time. Jere Longman, the author of the book, The Girls of Summer, gives us a first-hand look at the preparation, the dedication, and the events leading up to the game that changed the world. The Girls of Summer was a truly inspiring book. I especially loved how Longman started the book by talking about the end of the game before they went into penalties, and he finished the book with a full-circle ending by talking about the end of the game. I also liked that Longman included each of the player’s backstories as he spoke about them in the game. It gave them more dimension and humanized them. This novel was very motivational, as Longman also wrote about the hours and hours of hard work that each individual player put in to achieve her goal. Jere Longman factored in how this victory did not just change the game of soccer. He writes how it changed the world’s opinion on women’s sports. He explores the ideas of equality among all genders, races, and sexualities too. Additionally, he wrote about the differences between men’s and women’s sports. In conclusion, Jere Longman did an excellent job in writing The Girls of Summer, for he addressed the triumph of this victory, as well as the awareness that this win brought to the world. I would recommend this novel to any athletes who are either looking for inspiration or looking to learn more about the 99ers, and their victory that changed the world.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    More than just a nostalgia read! Since this book was published almost 20 years ago and not long after the 1999 World Cup, I was concerned that the gender analysis would be weak from a 2019 perspective. But not only is that component strong, so is the storytelling. NY Times journalist Jere Longman skillfully switches between the details of the final match of the World Cup and in-depth reporting on the back stories of the players and teams, the politics and more. His rendering of the game's drama More than just a nostalgia read! Since this book was published almost 20 years ago and not long after the 1999 World Cup, I was concerned that the gender analysis would be weak from a 2019 perspective. But not only is that component strong, so is the storytelling. NY Times journalist Jere Longman skillfully switches between the details of the final match of the World Cup and in-depth reporting on the back stories of the players and teams, the politics and more. His rendering of the game's drama kept me up late reading, even though I was very familiar with the outcome. Another aspect I particularly enjoyed were some of the stories of the Chinese players' backgrounds and the conditions that their team developed in, which I had not read about before.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nora T E

    Tenacity. Ferocity. Bewildering power. The top 3 traits that describe the robust women of the U.S Soccer Team. Soccer legends such as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, and Brianna Scurry were on the team that changed the world. Their power guided them to have influence on young minds of the world. The sacrifice, determination, and persistence paid them back. They got to have the rest of the world reflecting on their individual choices and changing the world. This book has remarkable stories of the influ Tenacity. Ferocity. Bewildering power. The top 3 traits that describe the robust women of the U.S Soccer Team. Soccer legends such as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, and Brianna Scurry were on the team that changed the world. Their power guided them to have influence on young minds of the world. The sacrifice, determination, and persistence paid them back. They got to have the rest of the world reflecting on their individual choices and changing the world. This book has remarkable stories of the influential women on the U.S Soccer team and their successes. Yet, even with those, they had everything but covert. Maybe that's the strategy everyone else should use. Don't plan things in life. Go with the flow and just see what happens.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    It actually did a really good job of bringing in the personal stories of the athletes, the national and global context, and the gender and racial issues in particular. I was pleasantly surprised. The main weakness for me was a tendency to jump around between those in often incomprehensible ways (mixed too with narrative description of the final match, which I wish I'd watched video of beforehand). Still, though, it gave me some great background for the team that has been and new perspectives to It actually did a really good job of bringing in the personal stories of the athletes, the national and global context, and the gender and racial issues in particular. I was pleasantly surprised. The main weakness for me was a tendency to jump around between those in often incomprehensible ways (mixed too with narrative description of the final match, which I wish I'd watched video of beforehand). Still, though, it gave me some great background for the team that has been and new perspectives to imagine what the team now is going through. Now on to "The National Team" for a look at the modern era of this squad!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Lewis

    This book shows the true power of women athletes, the influence of the 1999 women’s national team on the future of girls soccer. It shows the truth that they are there to play, just like the men. Play as a team. Michelle Akers played until she collapsed in the 99’ Olympics that’s a true athlete. Play until you can’t anymore. It truly shows the remarkable interwoven story of the team.”We did it for each other. All the tough practices in Orlando, all the fitness when no one else was watching, all This book shows the true power of women athletes, the influence of the 1999 women’s national team on the future of girls soccer. It shows the truth that they are there to play, just like the men. Play as a team. Michelle Akers played until she collapsed in the 99’ Olympics that’s a true athlete. Play until you can’t anymore. It truly shows the remarkable interwoven story of the team.”We did it for each other. All the tough practices in Orlando, all the fitness when no one else was watching, all the miles traveled. We pushed each other, we encouraged each other.” Julie Foudy That truly embodies the true spirit of a genuine team.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maeve

    4.9 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ms W

    AW: A summer read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kait

    I read this for the first time when I was 9 or 10 and hadn't come back to it since. The same magic that I remembered was still there, and still just as captivating as it was during that final game. Towards the end, I found myself not wanting to read it because I didn't want the game and the cultural moment it created to end. Longman effortlessly splices together minute by minute details of the USA v. China final with beautiful, in-depth explorations of players, coaches, management, friends and f I read this for the first time when I was 9 or 10 and hadn't come back to it since. The same magic that I remembered was still there, and still just as captivating as it was during that final game. Towards the end, I found myself not wanting to read it because I didn't want the game and the cultural moment it created to end. Longman effortlessly splices together minute by minute details of the USA v. China final with beautiful, in-depth explorations of players, coaches, management, friends and family, and football culture around the world. Incredible.

  10. 5 out of 5

    A Young

    One team changed all women's sports and how they were viewed by others. Jere Longman's, The Girls of Summer shows how women can play just as hard as men. This book shares the journey the women's US soccer team of 1999 experienced as they made their way to winning the World Cup. In this book, it explains that with teamwork and confidence, anything can be accomplished. Women's soccer has come a long way since the World Cup of 1999 and continues to gain the attention of viewers worldwide. Female a One team changed all women's sports and how they were viewed by others. Jere Longman's, The Girls of Summer shows how women can play just as hard as men. This book shares the journey the women's US soccer team of 1999 experienced as they made their way to winning the World Cup. In this book, it explains that with teamwork and confidence, anything can be accomplished. Women's soccer has come a long way since the World Cup of 1999 and continues to gain the attention of viewers worldwide. Female athletes were poorly respected during the time of the World Cup. The women's soccer team was slowly gaining respect from others and obtaining more fans. During an interview, Brandi Chastain was asked that if the team was more ugly, would they still have lots of fans? She responded, "There are those people who come purely for the soccer. There are those who come purely for the event. And there are those who come because they like us, to look at us. Those are the three great reasons to come," (Longman 38). In the final game of the World Cup versus China, the United States had won 5-4 in penalty kicks. The team had come a long way to make it to the championship. At one moment they were despised just because they were women and the next moment, they had over 90,000 fans routing for them in the finals. The World Cup of 1999 holds the record for the largest amount of fans at a women's sporting event. I would recommend this book to others, especially to those who enjoy soccer. This book was very interesting and informative. It gives readers an appreciation of women participating in athletics. As a soccer player, I enjoyed reading this book and learning about the struggles women had in the past.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I had picked this book up months ago and never gotten around to it, but with the Women's World Cup starting soon (June 26th! Coverage on ESPN!) I decided I needed to finish it. On the bright side, this is undoubtedly the best book chronicling that iconic WWC match between the United States and China in 1999. The author has done interviews with nearly all the players and main staff involved, resulting in quite a few interesting observations. There are brief biographies and insights on the American I had picked this book up months ago and never gotten around to it, but with the Women's World Cup starting soon (June 26th! Coverage on ESPN!) I decided I needed to finish it. On the bright side, this is undoubtedly the best book chronicling that iconic WWC match between the United States and China in 1999. The author has done interviews with nearly all the players and main staff involved, resulting in quite a few interesting observations. There are brief biographies and insights on the American and Chinese players in the final match, and everyone gets attention equal to stars like Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain. And he does not neglect context, either, giving brief histories of women in sports and touching on sexism, racism and classism involved in the marketing and coverage of the tournament. But I had some problems with the book as well. The book is structured with a few paragraphs describing the actual match, segueing into a tangent, back to the match, another tangent...it felt disorganized. Also, while the narration of the actual match is quite detailed, it is probably too detailed for those who aren't huge fans of the sport--and huge fans will probably just wish they were watching the match instead of reading it. And some of the author's writing struck me as clunky and overwrought. Trust me--this story doesn't need the embellishment. Still, this is a great read for fans of the USWNT or women's soccer in general, especially as the American women head to Germany to recapture the trophy that's eluded them since this memorable 1999 match.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Toby Brennen

    Having spent some part of most of my weekends over the past 4 years at a soccer match, I have grown to appreciate the sport immensely. It wasn't an option when I was younger. "The Girls of Summer" focuses on the 1999 Women's World Cup match between the US and China, it being the culmination of years of effort to develop not only soccer but womens's soccer in the United States. The book is a very good read, with the writer Jere Longman attempting to avoid going into lots of jargon, and when he do Having spent some part of most of my weekends over the past 4 years at a soccer match, I have grown to appreciate the sport immensely. It wasn't an option when I was younger. "The Girls of Summer" focuses on the 1999 Women's World Cup match between the US and China, it being the culmination of years of effort to develop not only soccer but womens's soccer in the United States. The book is a very good read, with the writer Jere Longman attempting to avoid going into lots of jargon, and when he does, he provides brief, concise explanations. Even a non-soccer junkie can get a feel for strategies discussed that definately won't be lost on the more informed. The greater part of the story is the human, and more than human, experiences of the players - these women of the U.S. National Team who forged a new space in sport for many to follow. I struggled through parts of the book because of its somewhat choppy, noncontiguous nature - discuss a topic, go on to something else, move on from there, then somewhere down the line revist the orignal issue. Once I mentalled juxtaposed the writing style with soccer's strategies and philosophy it became more fun to read - reading became more like dribble, dribble, inside pass, outside pass, down the line, then back to center. A good read for anyone who likes sports history, soccer, or simply competition at its barest. Ha!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    While I enjoyed this book, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone except the most die-hard soccer fan. It looks through the lens of the fateful penalty kick shoot-out at the 1999 Women’s World Cup (ending with Brandi Chastain’s iconic jersey-waving celebration) at the growth of organized women’s soccer. There are profiles of each of the players, mostly the Americans but also some about their coaches, staff, and Chinese opponents, and a play-by-play of the China vs. USA game. While it celebrates that While I enjoyed this book, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone except the most die-hard soccer fan. It looks through the lens of the fateful penalty kick shoot-out at the 1999 Women’s World Cup (ending with Brandi Chastain’s iconic jersey-waving celebration) at the growth of organized women’s soccer. There are profiles of each of the players, mostly the Americans but also some about their coaches, staff, and Chinese opponents, and a play-by-play of the China vs. USA game. While it celebrates that these women had opportunities that earlier women did not, there are still some disturbing things such as the identification of “the graceful Joy Fawcett” under a picture of her, and another player’s cheekbones are mentioned admiringly. And it was depressing to read all the optimism about the new WUSA women’s soccer league that was just starting when the book was published; it folded several years later, and the new league – the WPS – is struggling twelve years later even after another very successful run by the American women at the Women’s World Cup title.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    The story of the 1999 women's U.S. National team gets 5 stars, however, this book only gets 2 stars, so I split the difference and gave it 3. First of all how a guy who writes for the New York Times can have such a poorly edited/written book is sad. There are so many typos, errors, etc., I wondered if a hamster typed it. Second, the timeline is all over the place. Because of this he has to repeat stories, quotations several times! Then there is just too much information crammed into this book. T The story of the 1999 women's U.S. National team gets 5 stars, however, this book only gets 2 stars, so I split the difference and gave it 3. First of all how a guy who writes for the New York Times can have such a poorly edited/written book is sad. There are so many typos, errors, etc., I wondered if a hamster typed it. Second, the timeline is all over the place. Because of this he has to repeat stories, quotations several times! Then there is just too much information crammed into this book. The chapter on Mia Hamm has 6 pages about the history of Title IX. Good to know, but not the right place. The book needed to be much more focused and edited better. The best parts were the backstories of the players like Michelle Akers and how they got to that point in time and the retelling of the game, even though it was split up all over the book. Hope someone else writes the story of the U.S.A.'s 2015 Women's World Cup Champions.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Sanfilippo

    1. Why did you choose this book? I choose this book because Mia Hamm is my role model. She is my favorite soccer player of all times. 2. The plot of the book is about the U.S womens soccer team & their journeny to win the World Cup. It explaines how working together as a team can lead to sucess. 3. What was your favorite quote & why? My favorite quote was "No pain, no gain. Why, because this is how I live my life. I never stop trying. 4. What did you think about the authors writing style? Point of 1. Why did you choose this book? I choose this book because Mia Hamm is my role model. She is my favorite soccer player of all times. 2. The plot of the book is about the U.S womens soccer team & their journeny to win the World Cup. It explaines how working together as a team can lead to sucess. 3. What was your favorite quote & why? My favorite quote was "No pain, no gain. Why, because this is how I live my life. I never stop trying. 4. What did you think about the authors writing style? Point of view? It was interesting but he gave a little too much detail. This book was more about the author giving a historical account, rather than his opinions. 5. Would you reccomand this book? To whom? Why or why not? It depends on whether you're a person who likes soccer or not. I would share it with my younger cousin, especially since she will be playing soccer soon.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hailey

    This book is about the lack of faith that girls can do what guys can do. This book shows how girls were not allowed to play sports or do some of that stuff. This book is about the U.S. women's soccer team showing they can. This team was setting records for most people at a women's sporting event. This team won the world cup and was willing to show that women should be able to play proffesional sports and thats what thay did. I think that all girls should read this book because it just shows how This book is about the lack of faith that girls can do what guys can do. This book shows how girls were not allowed to play sports or do some of that stuff. This book is about the U.S. women's soccer team showing they can. This team was setting records for most people at a women's sporting event. This team won the world cup and was willing to show that women should be able to play proffesional sports and thats what thay did. I think that all girls should read this book because it just shows how these girls were willing to change the ways of the United States sports system.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rod

    8/25 - Saw this in the library a couple of days after the US Women's National Team took gold in Beijing. This book is about the team that won the 1999 FIFA World Cup. More after I finish. 9/7 - Well, I didn't finish this, but what I did read I found interesting. The author tends to focus more on how the team changed the world than on the team itself. I guess I should have known that from the title. I may finish this at a later date. 8/25 - Saw this in the library a couple of days after the US Women's National Team took gold in Beijing. This book is about the team that won the 1999 FIFA World Cup. More after I finish. 9/7 - Well, I didn't finish this, but what I did read I found interesting. The author tends to focus more on how the team changed the world than on the team itself. I guess I should have known that from the title. I may finish this at a later date.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lissi Gordon

    I really liked The Girls of Summer because I love soccer! Its every soccer girl’s dream to play on the National Team and that’s why I loved this book so much. If you aren't interested in soccer or women's sports, I would still read it because the 1999 Women’s World Cup is a very important event in the history of spots. It is a longer book with over 300 pages, and I would say it has poor organization. As a soccer player reading a soccer book, I enjoyed it! I really liked The Girls of Summer because I love soccer! Its every soccer girl’s dream to play on the National Team and that’s why I loved this book so much. If you aren't interested in soccer or women's sports, I would still read it because the 1999 Women’s World Cup is a very important event in the history of spots. It is a longer book with over 300 pages, and I would say it has poor organization. As a soccer player reading a soccer book, I enjoyed it!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    Loved this book. I was able to attend the 1999 Women's World Cup game. It was an opportunity to be consciously aware that I was witnessing history. What an experience. The book gives a brief overview of women's sports in general. The title says it all: The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How it Changed the World. I'm getting misty-eyed just thinking about it. Loved this book. I was able to attend the 1999 Women's World Cup game. It was an opportunity to be consciously aware that I was witnessing history. What an experience. The book gives a brief overview of women's sports in general. The title says it all: The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How it Changed the World. I'm getting misty-eyed just thinking about it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Girl Power! For a casual soccer fan, like me, this was a little over detailed, but it was well written, easy to get into and read like a story rather than an article, and I enjoyed it. Anyone who wants a little shot of girl power should read this and remember where you were in July of 1999, watching those PK's. Girl Power! For a casual soccer fan, like me, this was a little over detailed, but it was well written, easy to get into and read like a story rather than an article, and I enjoyed it. Anyone who wants a little shot of girl power should read this and remember where you were in July of 1999, watching those PK's.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Changed the world seems a little bit hyperbolic, but changed the US? Almost definitely. I am a big "soccer" fan, so I did enjoy the book. It wouldn't be for everyone, but was a good read nonetheless. It was written in such a way that, although it is non-fiction, it was still a good story and somewhat plot driven, reading like a novel. Good book. Changed the world seems a little bit hyperbolic, but changed the US? Almost definitely. I am a big "soccer" fan, so I did enjoy the book. It wouldn't be for everyone, but was a good read nonetheless. It was written in such a way that, although it is non-fiction, it was still a good story and somewhat plot driven, reading like a novel. Good book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    I definitely agree with the lot, this book is for diehard soccer fans and more specially diehard fans of the women's game. I loved finding out a little more of the struggles the ladies faced, as well as learning about their personalities on and off the field. I honestly don't think the book was written too well. There was a lot of going back and forth which I found to be unnecessary. I definitely agree with the lot, this book is for diehard soccer fans and more specially diehard fans of the women's game. I loved finding out a little more of the struggles the ladies faced, as well as learning about their personalities on and off the field. I honestly don't think the book was written too well. There was a lot of going back and forth which I found to be unnecessary.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate Hostage

    even though this book was a non fiction I found it very interesting. I have seen other movies about the same subject but I thought this book gave some additional and more personal stories behind the scenes that I found very interesting. I would recommend this book but only if you are interested in soccer and follow the national teams.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I loved this book. Deep reporting on the history of women's sport, the development of the US National team and the players who formed the nucleus of the early team and the 99 team. I loved how Longman used the chAmpionship game as a way to unfold the story and explore players' stories. A walk down memory lane, and a treat to read in the context of last year's triumph by the women's national team. I loved this book. Deep reporting on the history of women's sport, the development of the US National team and the players who formed the nucleus of the early team and the 99 team. I loved how Longman used the chAmpionship game as a way to unfold the story and explore players' stories. A walk down memory lane, and a treat to read in the context of last year's triumph by the women's national team.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I was only expecting to read a book about the Women's World Cup match in 1999 and I got so much more than what I was expecting. It's hard not to come away from this book shouting to anyone who will listen how far women's sports has come, internationally, and how far they still have to go. I was only expecting to read a book about the Women's World Cup match in 1999 and I got so much more than what I was expecting. It's hard not to come away from this book shouting to anyone who will listen how far women's sports has come, internationally, and how far they still have to go.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marion

    One of the best sports books I've read. One of the best sports books I've read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    CJ

    Written at the apex of American women's soccer. Written at the apex of American women's soccer.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John

    Great recounting of the 1999 World Cup Final against China, and the individual stories of the American team players. Some of the title IX history was a little dry.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz Pearce

    loved it!i am a bit biased loving soccer and all but this book talks about each memeber of the team and what they went through to get to the world cup. they are all incredible women!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    Way too repetitive and not particularly well-written, but it's still worth a read for the really interesting stories about the team and profiles of the players. Way too repetitive and not particularly well-written, but it's still worth a read for the really interesting stories about the team and profiles of the players.

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