Briana Colette Scurry, the goalkeeper who has been called the “Jackie Robinson” of soccer as the only African American starter on the U.S. women’s soccer team, has reason to celebrate once again. The same fierce player who rose to global fame as one of the stars of the 1999 World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team, was just elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Scurry will be in the hall’s Class of 2017 and, according to the Washington Post, will be the first black woman and first female goalkeeper to make the hall.
Scurry, 45, won gold medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 2004 Games in Athens. She made over 170 international appearances, second-most among female goalkeepers. She retired from professional soccer in 2010.
“It’s a fantastic honor to be inducted to the Hall of Fame,” Scurry said via US Soccer press release. “Soccer had already given me so much more than I could possibly give back. Now, to be inducted alongside the likes of Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm, and Kristine Lilly – I am truly humbled. And though my mother and father have passed, I can feel their pride swell. Thank you for letting me play for you, and thank you all for this incredible honor.”
To be eligible for the HoF, players must have met at least one of the following criteria:
– A player must have played at least 20 full international games for the United States. This 20-game requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990.
– A player must have played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and been a postseason league all-star at least once.
– Played at least five seasons in the Major Indoor Soccer League between the end of the NASL in 1984 and the end of the MISL in 1992, and been selected as a first-team postseason all-star in at least one of those seasons.
Nominees are then elected if they are named on at least 66.7% of ballots cast, with voting committee members able to vote for up to 10 candidates.
Since retiring as a player, Scurry has become an advocate for concussion and traumatic brain injury awareness. She has testified twice in Congress as part of committees on brain injury and sports safety. Scurry herself suffered several concussions which ultimately affected her health and quality of life. Despite only being eligible since 2014, Scurry’s election to the HoF really has taken too long. She was a vital contributor to the success of the WNT and to women’s soccer as a whole in the United States.
Scurry’s election is significant in that she is the first black female player and the first female goalkeeper to be inducted.