Netflix has scored the rights to Jere Longman’s book “The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World” to develop into a feature film. The project will center on the 1999 U.S. Women’s Soccer team, following their journey to the Women’s World Cup and groundbreaking success.
“Darkest Hour” producer Liza Chasin will produce under her first look deal along with Ándale Productions’ Hayley Stool and Ross Greenburg of Ross Greenburg Productions. Stool optioned the book and secured life rights to eight of the U.S. soccer team’s players. 3dot’s Margaret Chernin will work closely with Chasin on the project. President and CEO of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Marla Messing, Jill Mazursky and Krista Smith will serve as executive producers.
Though it wasn’t the first World Cup for the women’s national soccer team, the championship run helped brought the organization into the global spotlight for the first time. Team USA beat China in the Final in penalty kicks with the iconic image of Brandi Chastain ripping off her shirt after sealing the victory with the final kick and putting the team in the history books.
“As a longtime soccer fan, I can still remember watching that groundbreaking game in Union Square,” said Tendo Nagenda, vice president, Netflix Films. “When I moved to Uganda in my teens, playing soccer was an important way to meet kids my own age (even if our balls were made up of dried banana leaves). That was also true when I left my first job in Los Angeles to take summer film classes in New York City in 1999. In between stealing shots and locations, my collaborators and I would stand outside bars to see the Women’s World Cup series. Watching the USA team that summer made me forget I had no money and little more than a dream to feed me. That team, that goal, and Brandi Chastain’s unforgettable reaction — in which she ripped off her shirt and dropped to her knees in astonishment — made me believe I could do anything, and do it my way.”
The team was previously spotlighted in the HBO documentary “Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team,” which was a history of the entire program — not just the 1999 team — while this new projects marks the first feature dedicated entirely to the 1999 team.