B&N Reads, Guest Posts, Memoirs, Pride, Sports

“I Didn’t Set Out to Be A Pioneer” – Briana Scurry on My Greatest Save

My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper

My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper

Hardcover $21.99 $26.00

My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper

Briana Scurry , Wayne Coffey , Robin Roberts

In Stock Online

Hardcover $21.99 $26.00

For a moving memoir full of courage, resilience, and perseverance, pick up My Greatest Save. Briana Scurry is one of the greatest keepers in the history of women’s soccer, and her memoir explores the barriers she broke as well as her perseverance through a career ending injury that left her depressed, in debt, and in great pain, inspiring readers that sometimes the most courageous thing to do is to save yourself. Here, you’ll find out from Briana Scurry about why she wrote her memoir, what she hopes people get from it, and being totally authentic.

For a moving memoir full of courage, resilience, and perseverance, pick up My Greatest Save. Briana Scurry is one of the greatest keepers in the history of women’s soccer, and her memoir explores the barriers she broke as well as her perseverance through a career ending injury that left her depressed, in debt, and in great pain, inspiring readers that sometimes the most courageous thing to do is to save yourself. Here, you’ll find out from Briana Scurry about why she wrote her memoir, what she hopes people get from it, and being totally authentic.

When I started writing My Greatest Save, I had a strong sense that it wasn’t going to be a standard sports memoir. Sure, most people know me from the stop I made in the shootout against China to help the U.S. win the World Cup in the Rose Bowl in 1999, and for winning two Olympic gold medals. I totally get that. But to me, this book is much more about my journey as a gay Black woman than it is about keeping soccer balls out of goals. 

I didn’t set out to be a pioneer; it just kind of unfolded that way. When one of my coaches referred to me as “the fly in the milk,” I can’t say I appreciated it, but she wasn’t wrong. One of the most important lessons my late parents, Ernest and Robbie Scurry, the greatest influences on my life (nobody else is close), was to be who you are and go after what you want. It may sound like a warmed-over cliché from a self-help book, but you tell me: Is there a better roadmap for living a happy, fulfilling life? 

I’ve never seen the world through the lenses of color, gender, religion, height, weight or astrological sign. We are all human beings. I never spent a second thinking about being the only core player of color on the ’99 World Cup champions, or being the only ‘out’ person on my team. I didn’t stand on street corners and tell the world I was gay, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to hide it. Why hide it? Why pretend I’m something other than what I am? The fact is I love who I am – another priceless gift from my parents. 

I am fifty years old now, and more than a decade into retirement from soccer. I am fit and strong and privately enjoy it when people in my gym look twice when they see how much I am bench-pressing. Yet I’ve also learned in my later years how important it is to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to reach out for help when you need it. We athletes tend to have a distorted view of our own power, which leads naturally to feelings of invulnerability. I’ve learned the hard way that nobody is invulnerable. In April 2010, I suffered a traumatic brain injury in the last game of soccer I ever played. It plunged me into a three-year abyss, the worst time of my life, my days marked by searing pain, constant headaches, cognitive impairment, depression and hopelessness. For way too long I never shared my hurt with anyone – not even former teammates or close friends. I suffered in silence, certain my competitive makeup would lift me out of it. That was a colossal mistake, and it nearly cost me my life. It wasn’t until I got the medical care I needed, and stopped trying to keep my ordeal a secret, that I found a path to recovery. 

My life today is richer and more joyful than it has ever been. I am a lifelong optimist, and even in these scary times in the world, I want to cling to a belief that things will get better.  Our society’s prevailing attitudes towards the LBGTQ community have a long way to go, but I see progress, and hope for more. With so many emerging women of color on the USWNT – Caterina Macario, Mallory Pugh, Sophia Smith, Lynn Williams, Midge Purce – it’s heartening to think that the team is much more representative of our country as a whole than it has ever been. I love that U.S. Soccer has settled the long-running equal-pay lawsuit with the USWNT, and believe it’s a significant step towards leveling the financial playing field.  We’re not there yet – not at all – but the trends I see are fresh validation of the wisdom of Ernest and Robbie Scurry: The only way your dreams can come true is if you go for them.