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Chastain Visit Inspirational for Blue Demons
Brandi Chastain speaks to DePaul student-athletes on Friday in McGrath-Phillips Arena.

Brandi Chastain speaks to DePaul student-athletes on Friday in McGrath-Phillips Arena.

Feb. 25, 2013

CHICAGO - Current DePaul student-athletes, coaches and staff were given the unique opportunity to hear from a giant of women's sports on Friday when Olympic and World Cup star Brandi Chastain stopped by campus to visit.

The former Olympian and World Cup star was in town over the weekend to accept an award from the Girls in the Game foundation and made time to come by campus for lunch, a speech and a meet-and-greet with many of DePaul's student-athletes.

"This was an opportunity to expose our student-athletes to a nationally acclaimed motivational speaker and someone who has walked in their shoes," said Associate Athletic Director Kathryn Statz. "Brandi has been a big success across a number of industries. I hope she can help inspire our student-athletes to reach their potential."

Chastain's speech covered her beginnings as a collegiate athlete - one who had to come back from two ACL surgeries - both at Cal and Santa Clara as well as many of the guiding principles that have led her down the path to athletic and professional success.

"She gave a great presentation," said junior men's basketball player Donnavan Kirk. "With our overtime games, I could really relate to her talking about composure and enjoying the pressure. She should've talked to us sooner. That's how we should have felt in our overtime games. Like she said, it's all about believing in yourself."

The former national team star told the Blue Demons, "In the toughest of times, take a breath and enjoy the moment."

Her message resonated with DePaul's soccer players as well.

"It was great listening to someone who has been such a huge success take time out of her busy schedule to come and talk to us," said Kelly Blumberg of the women's team. "She brought a personal touch, and it wasn't a talk from someone you just see on TV. She reached out and talked to the men's basketball team. She was able to relate to all the athletes in the gym and not just the soccer players. Brandi has come to some of our games and talked to us."

Highlights from Chastain's Presentation:

Speaking on competition:
"Push yourself and the person next to you. I wasn't a starter on the national team, so I kicked Mia Hamm every chance I could. I would kick her, push her, get in her face during training. I wanted her to be better. Training was my World Cup."

"If you have a teammate that stands out, challenge that person. Joy Fawcett played in four World Cups and two Olympics, but she came to practice every day like she had to make the team."

Speaking on Composure:
"In a close game, you're going to be the difference-maker. It makes my heart race just thinking about it. Stay in the moment, be the moment and enjoy the moment. Enjoy the pressure. In the toughest of times, take a breath and enjoy the moment."

"In the 1999 World Cup, I was taking a penalty kick against China. After I placed the ball down, I looked up and the goalkeeper was standing right in front of me, face-to-face. She winked at me and smiled. It shook me up a little and totally took me out of my game as I missed the PK. Now, fast-forward to the World Cup final against China. My coach made me take the penalty kick with my left foot. I had never done that in a game. This time as I walked towards the PK, I told myself do not look at the goalkeeper. Take a breath and enjoy the pressure."

On that day, Chastain kicked in the winning goal, ripped off her jersey and the rest is history.