Growing up in Escondido and playing with Cal South, Shannon MacMillan would watch the Olympic Games dreaming of one day being a part of the leading international sporting events in the world. However, being on an international stage was just a dream for MacMillan and many other young female soccer players, as U.S Soccer had yet to introduce a program for women.
Things changed when U.S Soccer created the Women’s Soccer Program in the mid 1980s, and since then, has proved to be one of the most successful programs in the world. And to her luck, MacMillan was part of its beginnings that would set the bar high for the upcoming generations.
Since joining the Women’s National Team in 1994, MacMillan has fulfilled more than just a childhood dream. MacMillan was more than just a part of the Olympics, she scored the game-winning goal in the 1996 Olympics Semifinal against Norway, eventually winning the Gold Medal that year and Silver Medal in the 2000 games; she also won the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup on US soil, was named U.S Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2002, and finished her career among the top 10 USWNT players in scoring (60) and assists (50).
MacMillan’s trajectory with U.S Soccer is like no other, and for those who have made a strong impact in the history of the federation, there’s a special place, the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame. She joined a unique group in late March in a private ceremony at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. The former University of Portland midfielder joined this elite club where she sits among fellow Cal South alumni Marcelo Balboa, Cobi Jones, Paul Caligiuri, Joy Fawcett and Julie Foudy, to name a few.
“It’s incredibly humbling, it’s an honor to be inducted alongside a teammate like Brandi Chastain and to be in the Hall with other fellow teammates, it’s just a pinnacle to a career that I was blessed to have and it means the world to me,” MacMillan said about her induction.
“Going into the Hall of Fame with my family and loved ones was very special. Being part of the ‘99 team, the ‘96 team, and just the entire journey and the friendships that I made throughout my career, friendships that are still strong today,” she added.
After retiring from international soccer in 2006, MacMillan went on to serve as the assistant coach for the UCLA women’s soccer team. After three years of service and success at the university, MacMillan returned to her hometown to join Cal South club Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks as the Director of Competitive.
With the Sharks, MacMillan has shifted the club’s focus from a winning-at-all-costs mentality to an emphasis on player development. Through experience, MacMillan knows that player development will not only help players in the long haul, but it will help the club long-term, as well as provide quality players to national teams.
Daily, MacMillan encounters players working hard to improve, not just for their club, but to someday get as far as she has in her career. And for that, MacMillan has a few words of advice.
“Have the dream, be willing to do the work, make the sacrifices and fight through the adversity and enjoy the journey,”.
Cal South congratulates Shannon on her induction to the U.S Soccer Hall of Fame and her successful career!