In the Box

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They captivated the world in 1999 after winning the Women's World Cup on penalty kicks against China.

Who can forget Brandi Chastain's bra-bearing celebration after connecting on the game winning penalty kick. It's a moment indelibly etched in minds forever.

They have helped to knock down barriers for women in sport around the globe.

They have even helped influence and motivate future opponents like Brazil who they struggled to dramatically defeat in the Women's Gold Medal Final match at the Summer Olympics in Greece.

The United States women's national team with Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Joy Fawcett will make it's final appearance here in Houston on October 23rd against Ireland in its first ever appearance at Reliant Stadium.

The trio have announced their retirement from the international stage.

The squad will also include goalkeeper Briana Scurry, midfielder Kristine Lilly, and Chastain.

I could write about all the miraculous achievements that these women have accomplished winning World Cups and Olympic Gold but I will focus on the ability to influence with soccer as the driving force.

For these women it has always been more than just winning.

"We have always seen the bigger picture," said U.S. Captain Julie Foudy.

"It was just not about soccer. Winning was always important but we felt a purpose behind it."

That purpose was pushing forward the frontiers of women's soccer and for that matter women's sports. The National Team women have always consistently made themselves available for youth.

When Mia Hamm came to Houston in recent years with the WUSA Washington Freedom to play at Rice University against the Atlanta Beat she was seen after the game along with teammates signing autographs understanding clearly the power of influence and the importance of the personal touch.

Many that the trio of Hamm, Foudy, and Fawcett, have influenced over the years include current teammates that will be passed the torch of the future of the national team and will be on display at Reliant Stadium.

Players like Abby Wambach who scored the game winning goal at the Olympics and new talents like Heather O'Reilly and Cat Reddick have re-counted the influence that the veterans have had on the youth.

These veterans will converge on Houston and provide one more opportunity to use the power of positive influence on our strong youth soccer community.

Lone Star Sports and Entertainment has pulled off a major coup securing the national team for one of the 10 dates on their "Fan Celebration Tour."

Much like the U.S. against Mexico men's match that sold out Reliant Stadium in May of 2003 this one should again live up to the billing of a celebration.

I for one know Mia Hamm is looking forward to coming to Houston and playing in front of family that live in Austin.

"To be able to compete in my home state is a proud moment," said Hamm.

Davis is a nationally recognized broadcaster for HDNET where he partners up with former U.S. National Team defender Marcelo Balboa. He was one of the lead voices for ESPN during the 2002 World Cup and has called major international soccer matches for the Fox Network as well. He is a weekly columnist for the Houston Chronicle and hosts the "Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis" radio show on 90.1KPFT FM Radio every Sunday from 5-6 pm. Davis played soccer professionally for the Houston Dynamos where he was a league all star selection and team captain.

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