When the U.S. Women’s National Team lined up against Mexico 30 years ago – on April 18, 1991 — in the very first Concacaf qualifying tournament match for the inaugural Women’s World Cup, U.S. captain April Heinrichs and her teammates had no idea how good the talent was wearing the red, white and blue.
The Americans had never played Mexico and had faced only one team from its own Confederation, that being Canada, which the USA had already met four times. In fact, entering that first World Cup qualifying tournament, the U.S. team had played a total of just 43 games since program kicked off in August of 1985.
“When you’re a little fish swimming around in little ponds, you have no idea how good you are on the global stage,” Heinrichs said. “So, we didn’t know. We had had some good matches against good countries and started to feel competitive but by no means did we feel like we were a lock to advance out of Concacaf.”
By the time referee Willie Stewart of Trinidad & Tobago blew his final whistle in the championship game in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on April 28, 1991, the USA had a much better idea.
Not only did it win all five matches . . .