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Issue 17 Out Now

Briana Scurry: Thou Art Transcendent

One of the great female soccer players became a symbol for young girls in sports.


Former US National Soccer goalkeeper Briana Scurry - Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


Only a handful can say that they were the best in their field (i.e., sports, music, writing, etc.). Even fewer can have fans and critics alike give the title “pioneer” to praise their great talent and numerous accomplishments. For Briana Scurry, the American soccer goalkeeper legend offers young girls the path to dream and chase after their own goals. For Black History Month, The Undefeated, a sports and culture website under ESPN, featured Scurry on their Twitter page with the hashtag “BlackHistoryAlways.”

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Scurry went to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, on an athletic scholarship. She was named Collegiate Goalkeeper of the Year in 1993 and was scouted by U.S. Women’s Soccer coach Tony Dicicco. She would become the first Black American female soccer player on the Women’s National Team.

Scurry’s resume alone would put her in the arena as one of America’s significant athletics. She was a 15-year member of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, with 170 caps (starting 160 games) and winning more than 130 games. A literal wall for defense, she earned over 70 shutouts. Scurry became one of the US soccer team’s key players, winning two Olympic gold medals and the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Over the years, her former teammates remember the intensity she expresses on the field that intimidates her opponents. Her freakish athleticism was way ahead of its time, and her focus under pressure is at par with any champion you can think of today.

“Bri was awesome,” said former teammate Tisha Venturini in an interview, “She was caring and kind and quiet off the field and someone that was easy to talk to. But then on the field, she would turn into this animal, and she was intense and had an unbelievable passion.”


To become a legend in the sports world, you need to perform legendary moments. That moment came during the finals of the 1999 FIFA World Cup against China. Those old enough are aware of the iconic moment of Brandi Chastain’s game-winning penalty kick and ripping off her jersey in celebration. But, for every effect, there had to be a cause. That “cause” was Scurry making an essential stop from China’s third attempt. The US would become the first women’s team to win the cup as the host. Those moments set the stage for women’s sports to gain national and global exposure.

Scurry was one of the founding players for the Women’s United Soccer Associations. She played for the Atlanta Beat for three seasons, leading them to two championship appearances, and was named WUSA Goal Keeper of the Year. Although WUSA’s operations creased in 2003, it was a momentous moment for women soccer players to get paid as professionals.

Another requirement of becoming a legend is being recognized for your contributions to the game. Scurry was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in the class of 2017. She currently has an exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum’s Title IX section features the Olympic Gold medalist for her contributions to sports history.

Scurry is currently an advocate for concussion awareness after suffering a life-altering concussion on the field. As one of the few at her time to come out as gay, she is a devoted voice for LGBTQ rights.

Resources:

Briana Scurry — About. Briana Scurry, 2021. https://www.briscurry.com/about

“BRIANA SCURRY: A PIONEER, A LEGEND IN GOAL.” US Soccer, 9, Feb. 2018.https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2018/02/briana-scurry-a-pioneer-a-legend-in-goal

Briana Scurry — Advocacy. Briana Scurry, 2021. https://www.briscurry.com/advocacy

Nunoo, Ama. “No one ever played better than Briana Scurry, the first Black woman to be elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.” Face 2 Face Africa, 25, Feb. 2021. https://face2faceafrica.com/article/no-one-ever-played-better-than-briana-scurry-the-first-black-woman-to-be-elected-to-the-national-soccer-hall-of-fame

Strome, William. “BLACK TRAILBLAZERS IN FOOTBALL: BRIANA SCURRY.” Republic FC, 9, Feb. 2021. https://www.sacrepublicfc.com/news_article/show/1145358



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