Brandi Chastain Abby Wambach

The U.S. Women's National Team concludes its World Cup Victory Tour with a friendly Wednesday against China at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The match will be Abby Wambach's final cap for the USWNT, as the 35-year-old is retiring. Fellow American legend, Brandi Chastain, 47, met a much younger Wambach as the two overlapped in their international careers. Speaking on behalf of Liberty Mutual Insurance, Chastain, known for her World Cup-winning penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup, talks about Wambach's legacy, the USWNT's battle with turf fields and the popularity of soccer among American girls.

Brandi Chastain

ThePostGame: The Women's National Team had a match canceled a week and a half ago because of a turf issue. What was your reaction to that? Did you have any sort of run-in with turf when you played?
BRANDI CHASTAIN: It's an issue for all players. The men's national team has been to many venues throughout their history where substandard turf or playing field has been an issue. I have to stand with the women in terms of their solidarity to be safe. That's the bottom line. What we all hope is we can all go to the field and put on the best performance with the best players in the world. That's what we get to see with the Women's National Team tonight. We get to celebrate Abby Wambach's career. Dealing with the turf, it's not ideal. I feel like they handled it very professionally and in a manner that got attention about what we're trying to achieve.

TPG: Do you think it is a slap in the face to the women's game that the players were literally pulling the turf up from the field one day before the match?
CHASTAIN: There needs to be some sort of monitoring system that it should already be known that the field is in the best shape possible for the best players in the world on the best team in the world. That's the functionality that needs to be rectified.

TPG: Did you play on any turf or was it all grass during your career?
CHASTAIN: In my national team career, we played on a few artificial turf surfaces. In our professional leagues, we played on some artificial turf on a regular basis.


TPG: How legitimate is the players' argument that the only way is no turf?
CHASTAIN: As players, we hope that we can play on only grass. The game started on grass. For myself, it's what I love playing on, but I feel the way of the future is on artificial surfaces. That's something that can be in place around the world. What FIFA needs to do is make sure that all surfaces around the world, if they will be used for international competition, are the best and highest grade possible.

TPG: What kind of statement do you think it makes that they did not actually play the match instead of tabling this to a future incident?
CHASTAIN: The statement is loud and clear. I also think that I would hate to be having a conversation with you right now after somebody got injured. That's the worst case scenario. I'm happy with the stance. I'm disappointed that they had to make the decision, but we move forward. Tonight is an awesome opportunity to celebrate the game and to celebrate our partnership with Liberty Mutual Insurance, which goes above and beyond giving us an opportunity to do our best and engage with fans around the world. And we get to celebrate Abby Wambach's decision to step away from the game.

Abby Wambach

TPG: Moving on to happier topics, Abby Wambach. Is it almost surreal thinking that her career is finally done?
CHASTAIN: (Laughs) Yeah, I was actually laying in bed this morning after my alarm went off and I was thinking what is my first memory of her? How long ago was that? As a person who never wanted to step away from the field, she's making that choice. I applaud her and I think how lucky she is because the majority of us -- 90-something percent -- don't get to make that choice. She's walking away at a time she could stay and go to another Olympic Games. She's traveled enough miles, she's scored enough goals, she's won enough awards, she's been to the highest points of our sport and she's decided she wants to do something else. That's amazing and incredible and incredibly fortunate.

TPG: Can you remember that first memory?
CHASTAIN: I was trying to think. We used to go to China. The team still goes to China a lot. It was probably one of those trips to China, all of us out in a foreign country. You're seeing these kids for the first time with their eyes wide open. Open-air markets and a whole different language, just remembering all of the young players taking it in and how much we laughed. I remember the soccer, but I remember how much we'd laugh together.

TPG: What was Abby like in a way that fans don't understand because they weren't in those locker rooms?
CHASTAIN: Every player, Abby, Mia, Julie, all the players you play with on the national team, we all go through an evolution. You start on the team as a rookie. You don't feel your power. You just feel like you want to fit in and make a difference, but you're taking it all in, initially. Then you see the impact you make on a daily basis and then in the games and then in the big picture. I remember Abby always being herself. It's a testament to her career. She's done it the way she's done it without any apologies or regrets and she's goofy and child-like in the beginning and wanting to make a splash and watching her grow. It was a pleasure watching probably the greatest goal-scorer grow up.

Is she the best player to play for the national team?
CHASTAIN: Best player? That's a tough debate. There's a lot of great players. I think you have to put Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm in that conversation.

TPG: How is the state of U.S. Soccer different now than when Abby Wambach started playing?
CHASTAIN: Like Mia, like Michelle, like Julie [Foudy], what Abby's given to this team and the organization, overall, is a voice, a face, incredible moments. More young girls are playing soccer than ever before and she's helping grow that trend. We're in a healthier place in terms of the sport in sheer numbers because those numbers since '91 to '99 [to now] went exponentially through the roof. Soccer falls at the top of the choice list in terms of young girls for what they're going to play.

TPG: Abby's goal in the 2011 World Cup ... the header against Brazil ... is that the second-best Women's National Team goal after your goal?
CHASTAIN: I think it's the No. 1 goal because it was in the run of play. In that moment, for those two players to connect, with just seconds ticking down, it has to be the most-timely goal in U.S. Soccer history. Maybe minus the goal that the U.S. (Men's) Team scored to go to the [Paul] Caligiuri, Bruce Murray World Cup in [1990].

TPG: As a person, how has Abby Wambach been a role model to young girls and fans everywhere?
CHASTAIN: What I love about Abby is she doesn't feel she's different than anybody else. She's a girl from a small town who grew up with brothers and sisters and probably got beat up by them and had to be tough. She found her voice on the field and then was relentless in the pursuit of excellence. I think it's a blueprint for any other young person that follows sports or even that doesn't follow sports. I think in each young person, there's that potential and you have to believe it's possible. I think the strength and character that Abby has is that there's nothing out there she didn't believe she couldn't do. That speaks to her desire to push the envelope and try to be better.

TPG: What's your relationship like with her?
CHASTAIN: It's a very open, nice relationship. We don't talk to each other every day or every week. I was talking to her last night (through text) and I said I can hardly wait to see you play live tomorrow and she was like, "Wait you're there!" I was like, "I wouldn't miss it!" There's just this respect between us, as there is between the group of us who played together.

Brandi Chastain PK

TPG: What are you expecting tonight and how is this team going to move forward with Megan [Rapinoe] out for an extended period of time (Rapinoe tore her ACL earlier this month in a training session)?
CHASTAIN: I'm excited about tonight. I think first we start off with a Liberty Mutual booth, where people can pick up their crown, #WearTheCrown. What I've been hearing on the news since I got [to New Orleans] is the crowd will be like an NFL game, which is awesome. That is not a small stadium. This is not an insignificant friendly match. I was also thinking about how the U.S. is playing China in Abby's last national team game. China used to be one of our greatest and most wonderful rivals. They've got a new coach, [Bruno Bini], a gentleman who had been coaching the French National Team. He is a wonderful developer of talent. I think it will be a wonderful match tonight beyond the hoopla of Abby's retirement.

More Soccer: Blatter: FIFA Ethics Committee Is Like 'Spanish Inquisition'

-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.

U.S. Women's World Cup Hometown Craft Beers

 

Shannon Boxx

Shannon Boxx, M, Redondo Beach, Calif. Absolution Brewing Co. in Torrance is barely a year old. It also produces root beer and cream soda in addition to its alcoholic brew, which all carry religious monikers. Cardinal Sin Crimson Ale, Purgatory Hefeweizen and Sinner Stout are just the beginning.

 

Morgan Brian

Morgan Brian, M, St. Simon's Island, Ga. There isn't a single brewery in St. Simon’s Island, and there aren't many near it. But head north to Savannah, Georgia, and you'll find Moon River Brewing Company, a brewery that claims its building is haunted. Watch out for "Toby."

 

Lori Chalupny

Lori Chalupny, D, St. Louis It's almost impossible to pick just one brewery that represents the St. Louis area. The leader in St. Louis' craft beer movement, however, is almost certainly Schlafly -- the guys and girls at Schlafly market the company as "The Saint. Louis Brewery" with no (visible) apology to Anheuser-Busch. The company took a major step last October when it expanded sales the Chicago area.

 

Whitney Engen

Whitney Engen, D, Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. Strand Brewing Co. resides in Torrance, five miles from Engen's hometown. The six-year-old brewery recently earned the 2015 Small Business of the Year Award for the 66th assembly district. Strand hasn't brewed many super adventurous beers, but judging by its success, it doesn't really need one.

 

Ashlyn Harris

Ashlyn Harris, GK, Satellite Beach, Fla. Approximately six miles from Harris' hometown and on the opposite side of the Indian River sits the Intracoastal Brewing Co. It features Shellfish Warning Saison!, a stout brewed with Florida panhandle oysters, and Black and Blue Porter, a blueberry porter. According to Florida Today, more than 1,000 patrons at its 2013 opening consumed 212 total gallons. Don't worry about doing the math -- it's more than 2,261 12-ounce servings.

 

Tobin Heath

Tobin Heath, M, Basking Ridge, N.J. Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery in Berkeley Heights is approximately eight miles from Heath's hometown. Unfortunately, part of the building was damaged in April after a brewing tank ruptured. This place is certainly one of the more upscale craft breweries and restaurants in New Jersey.

 

Lauren Holiday

Lauren Holiday, M, Indianapolis Sun King Brewing Co., located in downtown Indianapolis, has produced at least 185 beers, according to its beer list. Its Lonesome Dove and Barrel Aged Batch 666: Sympathy for the Devil earned gold and silver medals respectively at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

 

Julie Johnston

Julie Johnston, D, Mesa, Ariz. Desert Eagle Brewing Co. is yet another young brewery on our list. Founded in 2011, Desert Eagle resides on Main Street in Mesa and boasts weekly live music and a handful of beers with bird references in their monikers. No birds were harmed in the making of the beer.

 

Meghan Klingenberg

Meghan Klingenberg, D, Gibsonia, Pa. Gibsonia is just 16 miles from Pittsburgh, and the Steel City is home to Church Brew Works, a brewery literally housed in a former church. Church won the Great American Beer Festival's 2012 Large Brewpub of the Year Award. No word on if the holy nature of its operation had any effect on the judges.

 

Ali Krieger

Ali Krieger, D, Dumfries, Va. Voted 2015 Best Local Brewery in the D.C. area by the Washington City Paper, Port City Brewing Company is 27 miles from Krieger's hometown. The brewery and Pacers Running, an East Coast-based shoe store, host a "Joggers and Lagers" event most Mondays throughout the summer, where attendees can jog a pre-determined route and subsequently feel less guilty about consuming craft beer.

 

Sydney Leroux

Sydney Leroux, F, Phoenix Phoenix is loaded with craft breweries, and Sun Up Brewing Co. is one of the best. Uwe Boer is the head brewmaster at Sun Up and was touted as the "olliest man in brewing" by the Phoenix New Times in 2012. Hefty praise, sure, but if there's one word you'd want the man brewing your beer to be described as, it might as well be jolly.

 

Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd, M, Delran, N.J. Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant is six miles from Lloyd’s hometown, but has 11 total locations in the northeastern United States. Despite being a chain, its beers frequently earn medals at both the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. Its Russian Imperial Stout has won six combined gold medals between both events.

 

Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan, F, Diamond Bar, Calif. Sanctum Brewing Co. in Ponoma has a number of interesting beers on top. Newtonian was brewed with honey and fiji apples. Leftovers was brewed with leftover grains, wheat and cranberries. But the most adventurous of all their brews is Hamish the Red, an imperial red ale brewed with turnips. Turnips.

 

Alyssa Naeher

Alyssa Naeher, GK, Bridgeport, Conn. – Two Roads Brewing lies only four miles from Naeher’s home of Bridgeport. Two Roads boasts some pretty memorable beer labels, the most impressive of which is the barrel-aged version of their Route of All Evil Black Ale. The menacing looking chili pepper on the label boasts that the beer was aged with hot peppers, which is surprisingly not a rare occurrence in the craft beer world.

 

Kelley O'Hara

Kelley O'Hara, D, Fayetteville, Ga. Approximately 14 miles from Fayetteville sits Jailhouse Brewing Co., a brewery housed in an old jail. The names of the beers are exactly what you'd expect: Misdemeanor Ale, Mugshot IPA, Breakout Stout, Conjugal Visit Imperial Red Ale.

 

Heather O’Reilly

Heather O’Reilly, M, East Brunswick, N.J. Triumph Brewing Co. in Princeton is one of two of the brewery's locations. It features an Oatmeal Cream Porter, which sounds like an incredibly good beer to cap a meal with. Plus, it's pouring $3 pints during an U.S. Women's matches!

 

Christen Press

Christen Press, F, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. The Dudes Brewing Co. in Torrance, like any good craft brewery, has a number of unique beers on tap. Grandma's Pecan, an English style, is brewed with pecans, as you might expect. Juicebox Series, which features an orange having a jolly good time on its label, is brewed with cocoa nibs vanilla beans and blood oranges. Odd combo.

 

Christie Rampone

Christie Rampone, D, Point Pleasant, N.J. Rinn Duin Brewery of Toms River officially opened in 2014. The brewery is named after an Irish castle, and has numerous Irish- and English-inspired beers. All of the beers on the menu are described as either Irish, English or Scottish style, and can only be found in New Jersey.

 

Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe, M, Redding, Calif. Wildcard Brewing Co. was founded by husband and wife Jeff and Jenny Hansen. Many of their beers have luck or gambling-themed names, like Double Down, Dumb Luck, Liar’s Dice and Shot in the Dark. It's fitting considering the brewery's name and the amount of risk the Hansens took in opening a brewery in the first place.

 

Amy Rodriguez

Amy Rodriguez, F, Lake Forest, Calif. California boasts the most natives on the roster. Luckily for us, California is home to approximately more than 550 craft breweries. Tustin Brewing Co. in nearby Tustin opened in 1996. It brews fairly basic beer, but its Golden Spike Light Ale and Blimp Hangar Porters are former medalists at the Great American Beer Festival.

 

Becky Sauerbrunn

Becky Sauerbrunn, D, St. Louis, Mo. Good thing the team has more than one player from St. Louis, because the home of the Cardinals has so, so many breweries worth mentioning. 4 Hands Brewing Co. is only four years old, yet its beer list is stacked. One of the more interesting brews is Ca$h Mony, an Imperial IPA brewed with what Four Hands calls a "wasteful" amount of hops.

 

Hope Solo

Hope Solo, GK, Richland, Wash. Founded in 2010, White Bluffs Brewery in Richland doesn't really have an "out there" beer. However, itsRed Alt took home a Great American Beer Award in 2014. In fact, Red Alt has earned a number of awards, and is a two-time champion of the German Hybrid Beers Division of the Washington Beer Awards.

 

Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach, F, Rochester, N.Y. Rohrbach Brewing Co. is a 24-year-old company in Wambach's hometown. The long-time New York brewery has donated more than $500,000 to Rochester charities over its lifetime. Recently, Rohrbach rolled out the first beer in its Neoteric Series, an India Pale Lager with orange and grapefruit.

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