Updated: Mar 20
Black History Month began in America nearly 100 years ago as a way to recognize the contributions and achievements by key figures in the African American community, despite systemic racism and oppression. We can think of no better example of this than legendary professional soccer player, Briana Scurry.
Born in Minneapolis, MN, Brianna Scurry was the youngest of nine children. She began playing soccer at the age of 12, the only girl and African American on her team.
Her coach put her in the position of goalkeeper to “keep her from getting hurt,” having no idea where that decision would eventually lead.
Scurry was an All-American high school soccer player, winning the Minnesota State Championship in 1989. She also ran track, played floor hockey, softball, and basketball and was named Anoka High School’s top female athlete before going on to attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
She started as goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s national soccer team at the 1995 World Cup, 1996 Summer Olympics, 1999 World Cup, 2003 World Cup, 2004 Summer Olympics, 2007 Women’s World Cup, and has the second most international appearances for the women’s national team by a goalkeeper at 173.
Scurry was a founding member of the Women’s United Soccer Association and played three seasons for the Atlanta Beat before retiring in 2010 after a season-ending concussion.
She was the first African American woman and female goalkeeper elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame and her U.S. national soccer team jersey is on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
As an openly gay woman, Scurry today advocates for LBGTQ rights. She also speaks out for concussion awareness, going as far as testifying before Congress on traumatic brain injuries in sports. She’s currently an assistant coach for the Washington Spirit.
Scurry continues to be widely recognized as one of the world’s most talented and influential goalkeepers and has helped diversify the sport by example.