The U.S. women’s national team won the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2023 ESPYs for players’ contributions to women’s sports and their fight for equal pay.
Briana Scurry, Sam Mewis, Christen Press, Tobin Heath and more stars from the past and present were there to accept the award. Scurry, who took part in the 1996 strike for equal pay during the Olympics, called what the team has done “truly amazing.”
“What we’ve been able to do is truly amazing,” the goalkeeper said during the acceptance speeches. “There have been 252 women who have worn the shirt of the U.S. national team since its inception. And we are accepting this award on behalf of every single one of them.”
In addition to Scurry, Press, Mewis and Heath, Carla Overbeck, Julie Foudy, Shannon Boxx, Lorrie Fair, Heather O’Reilly and Stephanie McCaffrey were also on hand at the ceremony.
Press is another player who played an instrumental role in the fight for equal pay, having joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation that helped lead to the team’s historic collective bargaining agreement signed last year.
“This is a tremendously exciting time of our team and sports as large. As anyone who has been there for us and our journey toward equality, knows our fight is not over,” she said. “We’ve been proud to carry (the torch of equality) forward and we are looking to create thousands of touches. Millions.
“This is a time where we must stand in support of civil and human rights in the name of a more just and anti-racist world,” she continued. “To find ways to support our trans siblings, to advocate for respect and kindness in ways that we engage with each other. We are proud to accept this award on behalf of every person who won’t give up fighting for a better world.”
The 34-year-old forward, who missed out on the 2023 World Cup due to injury, also offered a rally cry for the USWNT squad in New Zealand ahead of the tournament, which begins July 20: “To my teammates about to kick off the 2023 World Cup: LFG.”
Former USWNT star Lauren Holiday accepted another award Wednesday, taking home the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award alongside her husband, Jrue Holiday, for their humanitarian and social justice efforts.