How the first USWNT in 1985 paved the way for women’s soccer

Title IX radically altered the sports landscape, but not all at once and not without resistance. In the early years of the statute, the “forgotten heroes” challenged bias and championed equality—and the impact is still felt today. Read more about Title IX’s pioneers to remember here.

The stewardess—that’s what they were known as then—on the Alitalia 747 flight from Milan to New York approached the women sitting in coach. “The pilot said there’s women’s football players aboard,” she said, “and he wants to meet you.”

“I’m game,” said Kim Wyant, who stood up and took her teammate, Linda Gancitano, with her.

It was late August 1985. There were very few women’s national soccer teams competing around the world. The sport wasn’t part of the Olympics; there was no Women’s World Cup or other major tournaments.

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