Briana Scurry was a part of the moments that defined women’s soccer in America. The fearless goalkeeper of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Scurry won gold medals at the 1996 and 2004 Olympics as well as the 1999 World Cup. Last month, Scurry’s memoir, ”My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper,” was released. She shares her greatest moments as well as the depth of despair she suffered after a career-ending injury. A documentary about her, “The Only,” debuted this week.
“I’ve always felt I had a book in me, ever since I was playing soccer,” said Scurry, the only Black player and only openly LGBTQ person on the Olympic team. “In 2019, my business manager and wife, Chryssa Zizos, and Patrick, my publicist, sat down and talked about it. I decided that if I’m going to do this I have to be willing to talk about not only the great things that have happened in my life, but also the unpleasant side and hurtful things that happened.
“I wanted to be truly authentic with all of it,” she added. “I wanted it to be real, raw and to share with people some of the difficulties I’ve had, what I was thinking and feeling and how I got through them.”
Scurry collaborated with writer Wayne Coffey. They began the writing process in March 2020. She provided what she considered important mileposts in her life. Then, they explored what happened during those times. When they were finally able to be together in person, they watched her important games.
In 2010, Scurry suffered a knee to the head that left her with severe head trauma. She spiraled into depression made worse by the fact that her insurance company would not approve an experimental procedure that her doctor recommended. In 2013, she contemplated suicide as she dealt with symptoms. A good friend connected Scurry with Zizos, owner of a public relations firm, and Zizos planned a media campaign.
“The mere threat of this media made [the insurance company] move in the right direction,” said Scurry. “They paid for the procedure, which worked, and paid for a year of therapy after that. That’s how I turned everything around.”
Now a motivational speaker and sports commentator, Scurry’s love of soccer is present. When asked what made her persist in a sport that at the time had few other Black women, she said she was driven. Also, her teammates were inclusive and never made her feel she didn’t belong. They loved sharing soccer and inspiring current generations now playing the sport.
“I felt very passionate when I was playing soccer. I felt like my soccer career was anointed basically and it flowed for me. I rose through the rankings. I achieved great success—not just for me but with my teammates,” said Scurry.