Four Soccer Alumni are Members of WUSA Championship Team

Four Soccer Alumni are Members of WUSA Championship Team

Aug. 29, 2001

Four Santa Clara University soccer alumni, including assistant coach Brandi Chastain, will be honored Thursday by the City of San Jose as members of the Bay Area CyberRays' Women's United Soccer Association Championship team.

At the City of San Jose's celebration at "Metro's Music in the Park," Mayor Ron Gonzales will welcome the CyberRays players onstage in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez in front of the Fairmont Hotel at 6:15 p.m. The ceremony will be followed by the public's first opportunity to greet and be photographed with the Founders Cup and get player autographs.

Gonzales began the official celebration by honoring the squad at Tuesday's city council meeting. The CyberRays brought the league's inaugural title to the Bay Area after a 4-2 shootout victory over the Atlanta Beat Saturday afternoon at Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts.

Seven former Santa Clara University women's soccer standouts took part in the inaugural WUSA Championship, making the Broncos the most represented collegiate program in the title contest. Other perennial soccer powers, such as North Carolina and Notre Dame, had two players each.

The league's first Championship featured the Bronco foursome of Brandi Chastain '91, Megan Horvath '01, Jacqui Little '00, and Lisa Naņez '99 for the CyberRays. The Atlanta Beat featured former SCU players Kylie Bivens '99, Nikki Serlenga '99 and Dayna Smith '96.

"I'm very proud that we had seven players representing the two teams in the inaugural championship," Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith said. "I think it speaks well for our program that we are developing our players in the right way. They're moving on from their college experience well prepared to help their team at the next level. All 14 of our players in the WUSA this season have represented themselves and Santa Clara very well."

Smith--who coached all 14 of the Broncos that participated in the WUSA this season--led Bivens, Horvath, Little, Naņez and Serlenga on the 1999 SCU squad that went undefeated during the regular season and reached the NCAA College Cup.

Smith's team opens its 2001 season at home Friday against Cal Poly, at 7:30 p.m. in Buck Shaw Stadium. The men's soccer team opens at home on Sept. 4 against Bradley, at 6 p.m.

SCU was the second-most represented Division I program in the league during the regular season, behind North Carolina's 19, but had a league-leading nine former players participating in the WUSA semifinals, including Philadelphia's Mandy Clemens '00 who posted a goal and an assist in the playoffs and New York's Jennifer Lalor '97, who also added a goal in her team's losing effort.

The championship game was tied 3-3 at the end of regulation and stayed that way through 15 minutes of overtime. Chastain, who is well known for scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Women's World Cup shootout, was on deck for the CyberRays when teammate Julie Murray clinched the victory for the Bay Area.

Bivens, Serlenga and Smith started for the Beat while three of the four CyberRays from SCU-Chastain, Horvath and Little-played, with Horvath and Little entering as substitutes. Chastain and Bivens both scored goals while Serlenga registered an assist.

After the game, Chastain said the thrill of establishing a league and winning its first title surpassed even the World Cup.

"We started out with nothing and we did something great," Chastain said. "This is the most special moment in soccer history for us."

Over the course of the season, 14 former Santa Clara soccer players took part in the WUSA. The league launched in eight markets: Atlanta, Bay Area, Carolina, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington D.C. Santa Clara was the only school in the country that had its alumni spread over each of the eight WUSA rosters.

To round out the Santa Clara contingent is the San Diego Spirit duo of Erin Martinez '97 and Kim Pickup '00, while last year's West Coast Conference Player of the Year Heather Aldama '01 was a starter with the Boston Breakers. Emmy Barr '96 of the Washington Freedom and the Carolina Courage's Mikka Hansen '97 were also key contributors this season.

No on-site parking is available for Music in the Park, which will begin at 5 p.m. The nearest parking is at Park Center Plaza, which is adjacent to the park. Garage entrances are accessible from Park Avenue and San Fernando Street.