American football legend Briana Scurry is back in the spotlight with a new memoir and a documentary | Sports

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PHILADELPHIA — Twenty-three years ago, Briana Scurry was suddenly thrown into the spotlight, and she stayed there for a long time.

Twelve years ago, Scurry was suddenly pushed out of the spotlight and she stayed away for a long time.

Yes, that’s the time since Scurry’s heroic penalty shootout in the 1999 Women’s World Cup final; and since the career-ending head injury in a 2010 women’s pro soccer game against the Philadelphia Independence.

Almost an entire generation of American women’s soccer fans have not seen Scurry play in person. They only know what history says about his Hall of Fame career: 173 national team caps in 15 years, four World Cup trips, three Olympics and three major titles: 1999 World Cup, Olympics 1996 (the first edition of the women’s football tournament), and the 2004 Olympics.

After half-time at West Chester Football Stadium on 25 April 2010, Scurry never played professional football again. She spent some time in the public eye in 2011, as an ESPN analyst at the Women’s World Cup and as general manager of the ill-fated WPS team magicJack. Then she withdrew for a long time.

In 2017, Scurry began to return, taking a coaching job with the Washington Spirit of the NWSL. In 2019, she made a few high-profile appearances, including a 1999 all-star reunion where she squarely questioned Team USA’s goaltending depth chart.

This summer, she returned to the front of the stage. Her new memoir, “My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World-Champion Goalkeeper,” was released Tuesday, written with Wayne Coffey, who helped Carli Lloyd write her autobiography. And on July 12, CBS Sports will unveil “The Only,” a documentary on Paramount+ telling Scurry’s story.

“I’m excited and relieved, just like I was when we won championships,” Scurry, now 50 (yes, really) told The Inquirer. “When I first started thinking about doing this, in 2019, I had to make sure that I was ready to be able to go back to those parts of my life and be really authentic about what I had been through and what I I felt that at the time, and I wanted to be able to do that not only with great stuff, but also with not-so-great stuff.

She gained the strength to do so through advocacy work on behalf of people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

“I’ve found that the more authentic and honest you are with people, they feel that in their hearts, and they trust you and they believe you,” she said. “I knew I had to be honest and honor not only my history, but also the legacy of my mom and dad, my amazing teammates, and everyone I really appreciate in my life. …I’m not saying that it wasn’t sometimes uncomfortable and sometimes difficult. But as long as I knew the words on the page were true, I would be proud of it.

Scurry also joined the CBS football studio team. After a few appearances earlier this year, next month she will be part of the cover team for the Concacaf Women’s National Team Championship. The tournament will serve as a qualifier for the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics. (Every game will be on Paramount+, with the USA tournament opening on July 4 against Haiti also on CBS Sports Network.)

On camera, she will be former soccer star Briana Scurry. But her true identity is the one she’s even prouder of: Briana Scurry, a former black lesbian soccer star.

Scurry has been out publicly for quite some time. It was known beyond her teammates when she was playing, and four years ago she married his wife. But it’s still a step to being comfortable with telling the world.

Scurry taking that step is a major subject of both the book and the documentary — the latter of which she has yet to see in its entirety. She is ready to be surprised.

“I trust Pete [Radovich, the producer] and the guys at CBS/Paramount+ for doing an outstanding job,” Scurry said. “The trailer gave me chills, and this is my life.”

The trailer includes some of former USWNT star forward Abby Wambach’s thoughts on how Scurry inspired her. A key moment came when sponsors turned away from Wambach due to his sexual orientation. The same thing had happened to Scurry, and she didn’t understand why at first.

“Later in my life, I was told the same thing happened to me: Because I was away, a lot of companies ignored me,” Scurry said. “I thought it was because I was a goalkeeper. It was either because I was out or because Black, or both, because of my appearance, or something like that, you know ? But yes.”

Now Scurry knows there was another layer to what Wambach went through.

“Because I’m willing to be open and authentic about my sexuality,” Scurry said, “it’s allowed her to feel comfortable and to be who she has become — and for Megan Rapinoe to be able to “Rapinoe it”, as [Wambach] Put the. I didn’t know she felt that way.

Those words lasted a while.

“I knew Abby struggled with her sexuality when she was younger, because of her family’s religion and her size,” Scurry said. “But I didn’t understand that I was helping her to be okay with who she was. I didn’t know that.

Society is more open now than it was when Scurry was playing. There are now many openly gay black players in the sport, and some of them have cited Scurry as a role model.

“It means the world to me,” Scurry said. “To be authentically yourself, to go out and be visible, is sometimes very scary for a lot of people, and sometimes it is a risk that a person feels like they are taking and that they think is not worth it. not worth it. And so the fact that a lot of these young women felt like they looked up to me and were able to be really authentic themselves is music to my ears.

©2022 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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