Debbie Rademacher will be inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in New York this Sunday, for her role in helping the United States national team win the inaugural women’s world cup in 1991.
Rademacher, who played under her maiden name, Debbie Belkin during the world cup, attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It was during her time at Amherst that she was spotted by Anson Dorrance, during an exhibition match against the University of North Carolina. Dorrance coached the 1991 U.S. team to the world cup victory in China.
“We beat U.N.C. in the game and I guess I must have caught his eye,” Rademacher told the New York Times. “He didn’t know me well, but he knew my name and invited me to a national team camp. That was the beginning. My first big chance.”
Rademacher says that most of her friends in Hebrew school growing up were not into playing sports, and when she got to high school, most of her Jewish female classmates were into ballet or tennis. After the 1991 win, Rademacher retired, as did about half of her teammates, according to the Needham, Massachusetts native.
“It’s kind of funny now,” she said. “When I was in the soccer world I had one set of friends, now in the mommy world I have another set that don’t really know my background. They don’t know the coaching me or the soccer me. It’s all kind of funny.”