ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Women's World cup started with a bang from the United States team with a 13-0 shutout. Over the years, some women's players from Chastain, Hamm and Wambach have become household names, but the program had to start somewhere.
"I just said this only comes along once, I'm only 21 or 22, Once I made that decision, I was all in," 1991 Women's World Cup Champion Debbie Belkin-Rademacher said.
Rademacher grew up playing soccer. She loved it so much, so she decided to play in college, but at the time there was no way to turn her passion into a career.
Then, the first Women's World Cup was announced. She made the national team and began training.
"There was no resources, there were zero resources in the United States," Rademacher said.
With no home base and no pay the team would travel all over the country to find places to train. After, they would go home and try to make a little money to make ends meet.
"Most of the girls, when they went home, when they went to their home states, they gave soccer lessons to make their own money," Rademacher said.
After years of training, in 1991, the team went to China to make history.
"They just treated us like royalty and we had never really experienced that. It just seemed like in China it was much more of a big deal than it was in the United States," Rademacher said.
The team wasn't just there to play, they were there to win, and that's exactly what happened.
"When the final whistle blew the crowd was going crazy, fireworks and confetti and taking the victory lap," Rademacher said.
But, the reaction was different when they got off their flight home.
"There were maybe two people there going 'woo, U.S.' you know," Rademacher said.
Since that 1991 victory, she has seen the sport explode with a big boost in 1999 when the US hosted and won the Women's World Cup.
Rademacher went on to be the first coach for Michigan's Women's team.
She's watching this year's Cup closely and, she has hopes for little girls just starting out.
"I hope that if they say 'I want to make a career and be a professional soccer athlete, that they can think of that as a paying job and they can live their dream," Rademacher said.