Olympic gold soccer goalkeeper tells all in new memoir

Courtesy of Live Wire Sports and Entertainment

First of two parts 

Briana Scurry will be in Minneapolis June 29-30 promoting her new memoir, “My Greatest Save” (Abrams Press), that was released on June 21.

Scurry, an Anoka High School grad, Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame inductee, and two-time Olympic gold medalist is widely regarded as one of the greatest women’s soccer goalkeepers ever. She recently talked to the MSR prior to her book release and tour.

“I haven’t been home much since my mom passed in 2015,” said Scurry, “and I’m excited to come back here with something to leave the people of Minnesota with and to continue the legacy that my parents started when I was born. I’m excited to come home.

“It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I said…it’s a little ironic that a super private person just wrote a memoir telling the entire world, because I’m a very private person,” admitted Scurry, half-joking and half-serious. “I always felt I had a book in me and I needed to be in a place in my life where I felt like I could be authentic about all of it.”

From a family of nine, Briana and her closest sibling in age are nine years apart. Her mother Robbie Golden and father Ernest Scurry were her biggest supporters, especially when she started playing sports. 

Her favorite sport is football, and she played it—the only girl in a youth football league—but quit it because of a promise she made with her mother that she would quit “once I hit 99 pounds… I stepped on a scale and it delivered terrible news: one hundred and two pounds,” says Briana in her 18-page prologue.

Scurry grew up in suburban Minneapolis often as the only Black girl on her sports teams. As an adult, she was the only Black woman and first openly gay player on the U.S. women’s national soccer team. Today she is the only Black woman in the U.S. Soccer Hall of fame, and the only Black lesbian goalkeeper who has ever graced the Wheaties box cover.  

Her memoir takes the reader through Scurry’s life, the successes and failures, including a career-ending traumatic brain injury she suffered as a pro. There followed a years-long legal battle to get the medical help she needed to alleviate the pain that was so unrelenting and so depressing that she nearly committed suicide. She once had to pawn her Olympic gold medals in order to eat and pay her rent.

“I decided in 2019 that I was ready to do it,” continued Scurry on writing her memoir. She and co-author Wayne Coffey worked on it even through months during the pandemic that affected their in-person meetings. “We did a lot of that over the phone, and it required hundreds of hours of conversations and rewriting and writing and putting this in the right way.

“I said to Wayne, this has to move me and it’s my life. I had to read it and I have to feel it,” said Scurry. “I’d have to read parts and be like, wow, be transported essentially by my own life. It wasn’t until I did the Audiobook when I was reading it out loud and heard myself in my own voice speaking about my life, that I was like, we got it. This is it.”

Now age 50, Scurry said her life is better and richer than ever before. She eagerly works for equity at all levels of sport.

Next: Scurry talks about her advocacy work and other milestones in her life.