The U.S. women’s national team has been on the hunt for its next head coach.

From OL Reign’s Laura Harvey to Australia’s Tony Gustavsson, the rumor mill has been buzzing with names. But after a three-month search, Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes seems primed to take the job.

Just Women’s Sports has been keeping track of the conversations surrounding the search for Vlatko Andonovski’s replacement. Check back here for the latest.

Nov. 4: Chelsea’s Emma Hayes in line for USWNT opening

Emma Hayes is set to become the next head coach of the U.S. women’s national team, according to multiple reports.

The 47-year-old from England is stepping down as Chelsea head coach at the end of the Women’s Super League season. While the Women’s Super League season does not end until May 2024, Hayes could join the USWNT during international breaks over the next seven months before stepping into the role full-time at the conclusion of the season, Backheeled reported.

Hayes joined Chelsea as head coach in 2012. In her 11 seasons with the club, not including the 2023-24 season, she has won six league titles, five FA Cups, two FA League Cups and one Community Shield.

Oct. 27: OL Reign’s Harvey, Australia’s Gustavsson and Juventus’ Montemurro top shortlist

U.S. Soccer has whittled down its candidate pool, with three names atop the shortlist, The Athletic reported Friday.

OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey, Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson and Juventus women’s head coach Joe Montemurro are the leading contenders, though each comes with pros and cons.

Oct. 23: Becky Sauerbrunn: USWNT is ‘getting closer’ to hire

The 38-year-old defender spoke with reporters about the coaching search ahead of the USWNT’s October friendlies.

“I have been involved a little bit, but just kind of updated periodically about where they are in the process,” Sauerbrunn said. “I don’t know names of candidates or anything like that, but I was aware of when candidates were being flown in for interviews and that sort of thing.

“We’re getting close and I think that they’ve got a few candidates that they’re very excited about. But for the most part, it’s just been process and knowing where we are in the process.”

Sept. 29: Lorne Donaldson parts ways with Jamaica

Donaldson, who led Jamaica to the knockout round for the first time at the 2023 World Cup, is parting ways with the team, the Jamaica Football Federation announced Friday.

“After an extended discussion, both parties came to an agreement that the contract would not be renewed,” the JFF wrote on social media. Donaldson’s contract is set to expire on Sept. 30.

While Donaldson has not been linked to the USWNT opening, his name has popped up as an intriguing candidate. He coached USWNT star forwards Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson during their youth careers in Colorado.

Sept. 24: U.S. Soccer has ‘unbelievably diverse pool’ of candidates

U.S. Soccer has gathered “an unbelievably diversity pool exciting candidates” for the USWNT head coaching position, sporting director Matt Crocker said. He also reaffirmed that the federation is “on track — comfortably on track — to be in a position to have the head coach in place and ready to support the team from that early December camp.”

The diversity in the candidate pool extends to gender, ethnicity and experience levels, which puts the USWNT in position to find the best person for the job, Crocker said.

“I feel really excited about the coaches that we have that are interested in the role, which I think is a great indication of how highly this role is considered across the world game,” he said. “My job has been from the start: Go and find us the best candidate in the world.”

Crocker also is having discussions with USWNT players about what they want to see in the next head coach. He has talked to roughly half of the team so far, and he plans to speak with “every single player,” he said.

Sept. 12: U.S. Soccer lays out timeline for hire

U.S. Soccer is hoping to hire the next head coach of the USWNT by December, sporting director Matt Crocker told TNT.

Interim head coach Twila Kilgore will remain in her position for the team’s September friendlies against South Africa and its October friendlies against Colombia.

“Twila will pick up the September and the October camps with the staff,” he said. “And you know, in an ideal world, we’d like to be in a position for the December camp to have the new head coach in place.”

For Crocker, the ability to make tactical changes on the fly is an important attribute for the next coach. He also wants the USWNT head coach to be a hands-on presence within U.S. Soccer, including at its Chicago headquarters.

Sept. 6: Mia Hamm offers decisive ‘no’ on USWNT job

The USWNT legend shut down any discussion of her name in connection with the opening, saying she does not have the “bandwidth” or “patience” for the job.

“I’m not the coaching type,” she told when asked if she would want to lead the team. Hamm joins several other players in turning the conversation toward more experienced coaching candidates.

Aug. 21: Carli Lloyd calls herself ‘definite no’ for USWNT opening

Several former USWNT players weighed in on their own credentials for the USWNT head coaching job.

Lloyd called herself “a definite no” given her lack of coaching licenses and experience. Brandi Chastain also said she is “not ready” this time around, but she said she would “love to lead this national team some time in the future.”

Former goalkeeper Briana Scurry did not throw her hat into the ring as a head coaching candidate. But when asked if she would be up for a position with U.S. Soccer, Scurry did not say no. “I would definitely consider it,” she told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

All of the above players also offered their take on what they want to see in the next head coach, as have current USWNT players, including Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Andi Sullivan.

“You need somebody, a leader, with a keen understanding of the system that is going to be played, how to implement the system, and which players are best for the system,” Heath said. “That doesn’t mean: Who are the best players? Who’s scoring the most goals? Who’s everyone talking about? It’s not that at all.”

Aug. 19: Casey Stoney remains ‘very happy’ with San Diego Wave

The San Diego Wave head coach joked about being floated as a candidate because of her gender amid a debate over whether the next USWNT head coach should be a woman. But she didn’t offer much beyond that, only saying that she is happy in her current role with the Wave.

“I think there’s people that will go into that role and do very well,” she said. “I’m very happy where I am. I’m at a club that’s building something very special. I’m invested in my players and I will stay invested in my players.”

Aug. 19: Australia’s Tony Gustavsson downplays rumors

A former USWNT assistant under Jill Ellis, Gustavsson led the Matildas to the 2023 World Cup semifinal in their home country. And in the immediate aftermath of the tournament, he seemed committed to the future of the Australia program, though that could change if the USWNT comes calling.

“I don’t see this as an end of a journey. I see it as the beginning of a journey,” he said after Australia’s loss to Sweden in the third-place match. “But I also want to be very clear that I want to see investment now. I really do. I want to see investment and I mean like real investment that we’re serious about what we do.”

Gustavsson is under contract with Football Australia until the end of Australia’s 2024 Olympics run, but Ellis tabbed him as a “strong candidate” for the USWNT opening.

Aug. 18: Sarina Wiegman has ‘no plans to leave’ England

The 53-year-old Netherlands native led England to the World Cup final, where the Lionesses lost 1-0 to Spain. When asked about the USWNT job, she reiterated the details of her current contract.

“I have a contract until 2025,” Wiegman said. “I’m really enjoying my job, and I have the impression that people still like me doing that job. I have no plans to leave.”

The English Football Association plans to reject any approaches from rival countries interested in the manager, CEO Mark Bullingham said.

Aug. 16: Lluís Cortés linked to USWNT opening

The former head coach of FC Barcelona Femení, he is stepping down as coach of the Ukrainian women’s national team at the end of August upon the expiration of his contract. He had been in conversations with some NWSL clubs, per The Athletic, but Relevo has reported that he also had been contacted by U.S. Soccer.

Aug. 7: Laura Harvey: USWNT head coach is ‘top job in the world’

Even before Andonovski’s resignation, the OL Reign head coach was asked about a potential USWNT opening. She was on the shortlist for the job in 2019 before Andonovski was selected as Ellis’ successor, and she worked as a head coach at the developmental levels while also serving as an assistant coach to the senior team in 2020 and 2021.

And while she called the OL Reign her priority, she also labeled the USWNT head coaching position as “probably the top job in the world.”

“I enjoyed my time at U.S. Soccer. That’s no doubt,” she said. “The U.S. women’s national team is probably the top job in the world, if not a top three job in the world. That’s just reality. And if my name is anywhere near it, then that’s an honor.”

The U.S. women’s national team has a winning formula, Briana Scurry said. But former head coach Vlatko Andonovski botched that formula at the 2023 World Cup.

The former USWNT goalkeeper, who won the 1999 World Cup and two Olympic gold medals with the team, spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald after the U.S. was eliminated from this summer’s tournament. And she did not hold back in her evaluation of Andonovski.

Andonovski resigned from the USWNT after the Round of 16 exit, the earliest ever for the program. And the disappointing World Cup finish came after a third-place finish at the 2021 Olympics.

“Vlatko had two bites at the apple and didn’t get it done,” Scurry said. “And a lot of people might say, ‘Well, that’s ruthless,’ but I think it’s just how we organize and how we work with the women’s team. The standard, the bar, is so incredibly high, and he obviously wasn’t up to the task.”

Scurry, 51, also questioned Andonovski’s overreliance on younger players in his starting lineup, especially when compared to the more experience-heavy USWNT lineups of tournaments past.

“I have no problem with the younger players,” she said. “They deserve a chance, they should be expected to be in there. But they should not be tasked with carrying the load, because it’s too much.

“That’s why we win so much, because we have an understanding [that] there’s actually, like, a formula about it. And he broke the formula.”

Andonovski’s departure leaves the USWNT with a vacancy at head coach, and likely with several other positions to fill as well. USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf, who was a part of the group responsible for hiring Andonovski, will also step down when her contract with U.S. Soccer expires at the end of the month.

When asked if she would be up for a position with U.S. Soccer, Scurry did not say no.

“I would definitely consider it,” she told the Inquirer.

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.

A new soccer documentary is hitting Paramount+ on Tuesday. “The Only” is set to explore the life and career of U.S. women’s national soccer team Hall of Fame goalkeeper Briana Scurry both on and off the field.

“When I look back, I feel like I’ve always been the only,” said Scurry in the documentary’s trailer. “The only girl. The only Black kid. The only openly gay player. Even on the field, I was the only one that could save us.”

The starting goalkeeper for the USWNT from 1994 through 2004, she was the first woman goalkeeper and the first Black woman to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

But the documentary doesn’t just look at her soccer career. It also goes beyond and looks into the end of her career in 2010, when a knee to the head that ended her career led Scurry into debt and depression that nearly culminated in suicide.

The documentary comes as Scurry recently published a new memoir, My Greatest Save.

“I knew it was going to be some difficult times for me,” Scurry told World Soccer Talk of being involved in the documentary. “That’s my story. It’s blood, sweat, and tears, literally. Fantastic triumphs but also really deep depth in my life, and I wanted to make sure I did justice and honor to all of it.

“I was really excited about the project, able to get my story told in a fantastic way that did it justice and would honor my parents as well. I wanted something out there that would tell my story truthfully and with integrity.”

Briana Scurry is ready to tell her story.

The former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper’s new memoir, My Greatest Savelaunches on Tuesday.

Scurry has left a legacy as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, setting the standard for what the U.S. women’s national team is today. After being named the country’s starting goalkeeper in 1994, she won her first gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where women’s soccer was played at the Olympics for the first time ever. She went on to lead the U.S. to their 1999 World Cup title with a game-winning save in the championship shootout. In 2004 she won her second Olympic gold.

Then a knee to the head left Scurry with severe trauma in 2010, putting a devastating end to her historic career. Unable to work, Scurry spiraled into debt and depression that almost led to suicide.

Scurry sat down with JWS for a Q and A ahead of the release of My Greatest Save, a story about resilience and redemption.

Your wife Chryssa inspired you to write this book. Can you talk a little bit about what those conversations looked like?

I think what’s interesting about my amazing wife Chryssa is that she has been so instrumental in the resurrection of my career as a whole. This book is literally a labor of love, and I was finally ready to write it. I decided in the beginning, when we started talking about potentially doing this, that I needed to sit with the idea for a while because I needed to feel like I could be authentic about all of my life, not just about the really cool stuff that’s happened, but also some of the really uncool and hurtful and painful and sad parts of it. Was I ready to really be authentic and telling that to folks? Because I’m an incredibly private person normally, so it’s a little ironic that I’m writing this book that is so in my mind, in my head basically, on a piece of paper.

So, I said to her, “I need to sit with it, the idea. I like it. I like the idea, but I need to make sure I’m far enough away from some of the stuff that’s happened to be able to look at it and go back to that feeling space of it to be able to tell it well.”

Was there a specific moment where it hit you that you were ready to write your book?

Yeah, actually, there was. I was really thinking about my parents and telling, essentially, the story about being in the room when my dad passed. I’ve told people that story, but I really had to be able to tell it greater, in the grander, get down to it. As I was thinking about it, I realized that, yeah, I felt I could do that and I could honor the time as opposed to just skimming over it or making reference to it but not really getting in the weeds on it. So, I realized that. As soon as I realized that I was ready to get in the weeds on these things. Then that’s when I said, “OK let’s do it. I’m ready.” Because if I wasn’t ready then I would have said, “No, maybe not now.”

What messages do you hope people take from your story?

My purpose in life has always been to create and to inspire. I’ve done a lot of creating through my journey to winning an Olympic gold medal and playing on the national team for Olympics and World Cups and inspiring millions of people doing that with my team. I wanted my book to be an inspiration, also, to people who read it, truly to have them see that success is not a straight line, that we can make gains and then sometimes lose them, but you can always rise up. You can really be in an absolute horrible situation and still find a way to make it better, to continue to take a step forward, even if it’s just the smallest thing of, “I’m going to make it till tomorrow.”

The reason you keep going is because you don’t know where help is going to come from. I think for me during the time of my concussion, I really learned that. You know, Naomi talking to Chryssa in a dinner meeting, and then literally changed my life, and I wasn’t even there. I think the message there is just keep going, keep believing that change can come. You really don’t know where it’s coming from, and all of a sudden there it is for you.

While you were writing the book, which part was your favorite to relive?

I think my favorite was probably the ‘96 Olympic Games because I literally went from being an eight-year-old girl who watched the Olympic Games and the ice hockey team in Lake Placid. [Goaltender] Jim Craig, all the guys just do the impossible made possible by beating the USSR. That was the beginning of that dream, and then ‘96 was the culmination of it becoming real for me.

So, I would say that was the greatest part to retell because it was so much fun and we were like kids — at least I know I was, like a little girl in getting my gear and getting to walk in the parade when we came into the field on the opening ceremonies. I mean, my heart exploded out of my chest, coming around the corner. Talking, reliving all of that pageantry, if you will, and the adventure of it. I was so young then. I was so hopeful, and I had everything right at my fingertips. My world was at my feet, and that was a really fun time to talk about.

Did reliving your story make you wish you had done anything differently?

You know, it did. I think the one thing that is so clear to me is I wish I had talked to my parents more about them. Not about me, or about what I was doing, or what I was feeling or what I was wanting, but to talk to them more about who they were.

For example, in the part of the book where we talk about how my parents met, obviously I wasn’t born at that point, so my brother Ronnie helped a lot in the retelling of how my parents met. Reading that and writing that just made me feel a little bit of regret that I didn’t — I don’t know, I just have a new outlook and a different perspective on things now that I have stepchildren and it’s like well, how would my mom and dad have handled this or that? It would have been neat to ask them what they thought and what they felt, so that’s one of the things I would say.

If little Bri read your book, which part would she be most excited to read about?

I would think that she would be excited about how I turned the tables and completely resurrected my career after 2000 going into 2004 and the way that I handled the situation with my dad and all of that. I would think that as me now, but I think little Briana would probably just love reading about the Olympics in general, like all the game stuff, the game commentary and retelling of how the game went and maybe watching that game for herself for the first time, similar to how I watched Lake Placid, the ice hockey team, just watching the games on TV over again. I think that’s the part she would like the best.

Knowing what you know now, what piece of advice would you have given the young Bri who was in the early chapters?

Advice is tricky because part of me wants to say be more present and be more open and absorb the present and everything around you, but as a high-level elite athlete, I think a lot of athletes would say that you really have to be focused on the task and you narrow your focus. And to be more the moment sometimes requires you to broaden your focus, and so that’s not necessarily advantageous. You know what I mean? You sometimes have to block things out in order to be able to do the thing well. So, I would say, just have more fun with it, I think would be what I would say, because you can’t have more fun with it and have a really narrow focus still.

Was there anything you learned throughout the process of writing your book?

I actually heard this this morning when I was listening to GMA that the author of a book said it was cathartic to write it. One of the ways I look at it is there’s all these rooms of memories that you have, or moments or a couple days or this or that or an Olympics, for example. There are situations in that room and the difficult times that are hard and hurt you or are sad, you put them in a room and you lock them away. You put them on the shelf. You often don’t ever go back to that room. What happens, I feel, somewhere in your body, you have unresolved emotional baggage in that room, and if you don’t go and resolve that baggage then it’ll always be there. And it could be something that’s holding you back from becoming better or moving on through something.

I think the book required me to pour sunlight in all the rooms that had darkness in them. Going through that with the light and being honest and truthful with myself, I was able to have forgiveness in a forgiveness space of all those rooms that needed it. Had I not done the book, I wouldn’t have had that to be necessary, it wouldn’t have been required to me for me to do that. I think it really enlightened me and also really made me more appreciative and grateful about the amazing life I do have now because when I went back to some of those things, I’m like, “Wow, Bri, you must have been really hurting at that time,” almost like I was looking at it like it wasn’t me. Then saying, “OK well, you can have forgiveness.” You can forgive yourself, you could forgive that person or that thing or whatever. You can be at peace with it.

I think with the book, with book writing, that’s what happens, but I wasn’t aware that was going to happen to me.

Was it difficult to get through writing about those tough times in your life?

It was, yeah. There are two in particular that were really difficult.

One was being back in the hospital room when my father passed. Having to really think about that and remember that moment and be able to describe it in the book and to get the reader to the feeling space of how I was then and how that felt to me, to have my father be there. He was also my first parent that passed. Everybody is aware that normally a child outlives a parent. The odds of me actually being in that room were astronomical. I found myself there and understanding all of that is a bit cosmic, really. It’s hard to comprehend it.

Then also getting into the feeling space of when I was suicidal. What would happen would be Wayne [Coffey, co-author] and I would talk about this, and I would tell him how it felt. And we would talk and talk and talk about it, and then afterwards when we were done talking about it, it was still on me, that heaviness. I would go through my next day or two wondering why I feel so glum, even though I’m incredibly optimistic. That was hard to almost have that weight and relive that, literally. I did believe that, in order to be able to tell it well in the book and have you understand and feel that way and at least get a glimpse into what that was like for me.

Were you able to relieve that weight that you carried after those conversations?

Yeah, I did. I would talk to my wife Chryssa quite a bit about it. I found that when I would tell her about what I talked to Wayne about that day, talking to her helped remind me that that was my past. Although that sounds very strange that I wouldn’t know that, it’s almost like she checked me back into my current life, my present. I felt like I was almost dishonoring, maybe to a level, if I stopped feeling that way about my dad dying or when I was suicidal. I realize that I’m just trying to help other people with it and that it’s OK to leave it there, because I can’t fix it. What I can do is I can fix myself on how I feel about it, and that’s exactly what I did. I would visualize myself opening the shades, opening the door, letting the sunlight into that space, and that was able to help me be able to move onto the next thing and be OK with that.

The title, My Greatest Save, is obviously a metaphor, so what’s your greatest or favorite save on the field?

It’s interesting because the PK save in ‘99 isn’t actually my greatest save, in my opinion. Looking at that, most people would obviously think that, but I feel like the save I made in the 2004 Olympic final against Brazil when Cristiane literally ripped one from 18 or 16 yards out to the corner and I literally just threw my body and fingertips, barely got that ball and spun it around the post. I remember not seeing it, I didn’t actually see the shot. I just went and that’s that being in the zone thing that Athens talk about a lot, and at that moment I felt like I was in the zone. My body, my mind was playing the game with my body. I wasn’t really conscious of everything going on in that game, and it just felt so instinctive. I would say that save was my greatest save on the pitch because if I don’t make that save and Brazil scores, the tide of the game can change quickly, especially with a team like Brazil. When they score, they often pour them on you — goal after goal after goal. Making that save made me know that I was ready.

Do you have any thoughts on the current USWNT roster that was recently announced?

Yeah I do, and I kind of have to because I’m actually on the studio team for the qualifiers with CBS and Paramount+. I’m actually going to be broadcasting that tournament. I thought it was interesting, Vlatko [Andonovski]’s press conference after the release. His answer about Christen Press, I thought was… I’m like, “Mmm?” I thought it was odd.

It made me wonder, and we talked about it on the call, about Vlatko. Vlatko’s going to be a topic of discussion, I believe, going forward with regards to his choices. He’s got a lot of pressure on him, and obviously he’s got a whole year until actually coaching the World Cup tournament itself. But this is going to be an indicator of his philosophies. I just didn’t think that was handled very well. You can make decisions that are really tough like that, but you can also handle it better, I thought. I was wondering why he answered the way he did.

Macario’s out, unfortunately, with her knee just like a minute ago, virtually, and so he was building that team around her essentially. Now, what does that mean? How do you take out a foundation, literally half of it, and then reconstruct it and then make it again? I feel like that’s a topic.

Then the idea of playing Mexico might end up being a real challenge because apparently from what I heard that the game is sold out, or on the verge of it — the third game against Mexico. That’s really intriguing.

I just feel like the current team is going to be fine with the qualifying, but I think it’s going to be interesting. It’s so funny because every time we have a cycle, a World Cup, we always have the same questions, and they always have the same answer: “Don’t worry about it.” Like we did when I played, all these people have all these questions and no power to make an impact on the outcome. I find that intriguing about being a talking head that if I were listening to me, I’d be like, “What do you know about it?” [Laughs] But it’s fun. I enjoy it. So that’s how I look at it. A lot of interesting points to the youth of the team. I mean, half the Washington Spirit team is on that roster, basically. That’s interesting because just two years ago there wasn’t any Washington Spirit players because we didn’t have O’Hara, we didn’t have Sonnett. Andi hadn’t come through yet. Now Aubrey’s on there, obviously Trin’s on there, Sanchez on there. I mean, half the lineup is in that camp now, so it’s going to be interesting.

In light of your book being released during Pride Month and as the only Black lesbian on your team, how do you hope soccer will continue to become a more inclusive space?

What’s interesting about change is it moves like an iceberg. A glacier is very slow, but you always have to keep pulling or pushing or asking and talking about it. You have to keep going and going.

I feel like we’re getting there because the 2015 World Cup, there is a real monumental image from there that was Abby and her wife at the time, Sarah, embracing each other and kissing each other after the game. That image was very reminiscent and replicative of the World Cup. In my time, in ’99, I was running to the stands to my girlfriend and the camera was following me and then it cut away as soon as they realized it was a girl. We’ve come a long way from that, from cutting away to being an iconic image of the World Cup in 16 years, but there’s still room to improve. There’s always going to be. Not only sexual orientation, more inclusion that way with the team, but also more Black girls on the team that are playing in the games that matter — World Cup rosters, Olympic rosters, this roster, for example — getting into the game and making an impact. Crystal Dunn is the only example I can think of that has had any real consistent impact on high-level, high-stakes rosters.

There is some improvement to do but it’s coming along. I was overjoyed to hear an interview that Abby did for my documentary, The Only, that’s coming out on July 12. CBS Paramount+ is doing that. She said that seeing me be out on the team helped her and Megan Rapinoe be who they are later on. That was really cool. I didn’t know that she felt that way about it, so that was really nice to hear.

So yeah, keep going, keep making an impact, keep talking, sharing your truth with people. You can really make inroads, you can make progress, you can help other people, for example. Equal pay is another great example. Thirty years it’s taken to get that done. The cool part is one of my former teammates is really instrumental. Cindy Parlow Cone is the president of the federation and getting that done, so we’re getting there, but we still have work to do.

How does it feel to see the progress with the equal pay settlement that was recently announced between the USWNT and U.S. Soccer, being one of the original players who started that when you and eight others sat out of the ’96 Olympic training camp?

I was absolutely thrilled when that news dropped. That was a fantastic day. It was a journey that was so long, alongside of my own journey to become me. Part of the national team, if you play for the women’s soccer team, part of your mandate is to raise the bar for equal pay, and the other part is obviously to play brilliant soccer and win everything. Those are two really high standards to hold. This current generation has done a phenomenal job of pushing that bar up and putting their necks on the line with the lawsuit a few years back that was a new iteration of that journey to get equal pay. That was just the next step that had to be done in order to get there.

Like I said earlier, you just have to keep pushing, pushing, pushing. They finally were able to do it, largely in part, I think, because one of us became president. Hats off to Cindy Parlow Cone, obviously hats off to the men’s team for being willing to come to the table. Walker Zimmerman was very instrumental in getting the guys on board with the idea of pooling the prize money.

And never mind about the revenue sharing. That’s brand new, that’s amazing. I feel like what you’re going to see in the next few years is that revenue from outside sponsors, partnerships, broadcasting rights is going to grow into enormous pie because, in part, a lot of companies are probably going to be like, “I don’t know if I want to be a part of U.S. Soccer because they’re not really being fair to their women’s team, and it doesn’t feel right, it seems weird, it doesn’t smell right,” but now we’re all on the same page, playing together, for each other, and I think that’s going to make a huge difference in the near future.

Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.

By now, it’s well known that the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup drastically shifted the way people viewed women’s soccer in the United States.

The World Cup, which was hosted in the US, averaged close to 38,000 spectators per match, with a total attendance of 1.94 million, a record that stood until 2015. Television ratings were likewise historic, with viewership for several matches breaking domestic soccer records for channels like ESPN and ABC. The tournament was also a massive financial success, with a $4 million profit on its $30 million operating budget.

When the USWNT won the final in a penalty shootout against China, the team became the first women’s team to win the tournament twice (their first title came in 1991).

The women on the team became overnight celebrities. Embarking on a well-received victory tour, their team bus had to travel with a four-motorcycle escort due to excessive fan interest. Richard Finn, who was the director of public relations for the tournament at the time, compared the frenzy to the Spice Girls, the Backstreet Boys, and the Beatles.

The winning team (nicknamed the ‘99ers) featured players like Mia Hamm, an explosive forward player who had incredible technical ability and was a consistent goal-scorer; Tiffeny Milbrett, a constant menace for opposition defenders; and Michelle Akers, a tenacious and powerful defensive midfielder.

But a name that still goes under-mentioned is that of goalkeeper Briana Scurry.


Keepers, in general, are often under-celebrated compared to their teammates; they aren’t as flashy, they don’t score goals, and they are often seen as having less work to do. But make no mistake, the ‘99ers don’t become the iconic team everyone knows them to be without Briana Scurry.

Scurry first debuted with the USWNT back in 1994. By 1995, Mary Harvey, the USWNT’s starting keeper, was in the twilight years of her international career, which paved the way for Scurry to step up during the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The team went home with a bronze medal after losing to eventual tournament winners Norway in the semi-finals and beating China PR in the third-place playoff. Most memorably during that tournament, Scurry was sent off in the 88th minute during a group game against Denmark, after the then 23-year-old stepped out of the box with the ball in her hands in an attempt to kick the ball upfield.

By that time, the USWNT was up 2-0, but head coach Tony DiCicco had already used all three of his substitutes, which forced him to play Mia Hamm in goal.

The trivial error proved not to be costly for the US, and in fact, most look back now and laugh. But the incident did show a glimpse of just how young and inexperienced Scurry was at the time.

Only one year later, Scurry proved that the silly errors were behind her, as she became the undisputed number one for the team and was able to help the USWNT bring home gold during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Then came the 1999 World Cup. Scurry had a fantastic showing, only conceding three goals in the entire tournament, one during a 7-1 win against Nigeria in the group stages and two during a 3-2 win against Germany in the quarter-finals.

Scurry managed to keep a clean sheet in the final against China PR, which consisted of 90 minutes of regular time plus two halves of extra time.

Sun Wen, who was easily the best player for China, and who would go on to become one of the greatest women footballers of all time, was in the form of her life during the tournament. She had already racked up seven goals and three assists during the tournament (a feat that won her both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot after the tournament).

Scurry kept her cool, though, keeping both Sun Wen and her teammates off the scoreboard. The keeper’s big moment came during the penalty shootout when she saved Liu Ying’s attempt. [Fast forward below to 8:35.]

Kristine Lilly and Hamm were then able to give the USWNT the lead after the save, but China’s Zhang Ouying and Sun Wen subsequently tied it up. Brandi Chastain then stepped up for what would prove to be the final kick of the game, as her penalty won the shootout 5-4, winning the World Cup.

Chastain’s celebration is now a part of sports lore. But her goal would have been meaningless had Scurry not made the earlier save.

Scurry’s historic deflection earned the USWNT their second World Cup title, a feat that no team had yet to accomplish. It also meant that Scurry was the first goalkeeper to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Women’s World Cup (she would be later joined by Norway’s Bente Nordby and fellow USWNT keeper Hope Solo).

Scurry and her nineteen teammates’ performance proved instrumental in pushing for America to develop its own professional league for women; at the time, no such league had ever existed. The twenty players demonstrated the need to invest in a game that was clearly growing in the country. The players succeeded, and The Women’s United Soccer Association formed in 2000. It became the world’s first women’s football league in which the players were paid as professionals.

The WUSA, a league made up of eight teams, had its inaugural season in 2001, with Scurry joining the Atlanta Beat. She was their starting keeper for three seasons until the league dissolved in 2003. While it may not have lasted, the WUSA paved the way for the emergence of both the WPS and the NWSL.

Scurry remained the USWNT’s starting keeper until about 2006, winning silver at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney (as a squad member; she could not play due to injury), gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and a bronze medal at the 2003 FIFA WWC.


By 2007, at the age of  thirty-six, she was relegated to second keeper after Hope Solo began to break through. Scurry played a couple of games during the 2007 WWC in China, in which the team won a bronze medal, but was not selected for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and thus retired from international duty.

A year later, the WPS was formed, and Scurry was drafted by the Washington Freedom to play in their inaugural season. However, in her second season, she suffered a severe concussion and was forced to not only leave the WPS but retire from the game for good.

Scurry’s concussion proved to have a devastating impact on her life. She was unable to work due to persistent migraines, falling into a deep depression, to the point that the only thing keeping her from suicide was her mother, who was fighting her own battle with Alzheimer’s.

Scurry spent days just lying on her couch, waiting for disability payments to come through. She has said that she longed for a way to escape from the fatigue and pain, as well as her deteriorating financial situation.

Tragically, Scurry was forced to pawn off her two Olympic gold medals in order to make ends meet, a decision she says brought her physical nausea. Thankfully, in 2012, a friend connected Scurry with her now-wife, who was able to help her fight the insurance company and get both medals back.

In 2013, she had occipital release surgery, a surgery which relieves nerves in the back of the head from the pressure of the muscles compressing them. The surgery has helped with Scurry’s pain immensely. She is now an advocate for better resources for women who suffer concussions while playing football and who have symptoms like depression, anxiety, and high irritability. Scurry has also pledged to donate her brain to CTE research when she passes, a disease that affects so many athletes, yet remains under-researched and is impossible to diagnose in a living person.

Currently, you can find Scurry acting as a mentor for Trinity Rodman, who earlier in the year became the youngest player in NWSL history after being selected No. 2 in the draft. Rodman’s new team, the Washington Spirit, sought out Scurry, who served as an assistant coach to the team back in 2018, to provide the youngster a support system if need be.

For her accomplishments with the USWNT, Scurry was not only hailed as one of the best keepers in the world but praised as the sole Black woman on the USWNT during their success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. When the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian Institution museum, opened in 2016, she became a part of the “Title IX exhibit,” which showcased African American women who are “symbolic figures of black ability” and who “have taken their activism beyond the court: to the courtroom, boardroom, and the newsroom.”

In 2017, she was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, becoming the first Black woman and first female goalkeeper. The honor firmly cemented her status as one of the best to ever play.

The simple fact of the matter is the USWNT does not have the dominance it currently has in the women’s game without Briana Scurry’s performances on the pitch. Her play propelled the team to multiple major titles at a crucial point in its career, while her diving save in 1999 secured perhaps the greatest win in the sport’s history.

Combined with her advocacy off the pitch and the inspiration she has become to so many young Black women, it’s no wonder that Scurry has become an icon of the game. She deserves to not only be celebrated during Black History Month, but for every month that follows, as one of greatest and most influential players to ever take the field.