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Briana Scurry first black woman elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame

It’s a long overdue honor for one of the United States’ finest goalkeepers.

Norway v USA - Womens World Cup 2007 3rd Place Play Off Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Briana Scurry has finally been elected to the USSF National Soccer Hall of Fame. She was elected along with Dr. Joe Machnik, with Scurry going on the Player Ballot and Machnik on the Builder ballot.

"It's a fantastic honor to be inducted to the Hall of Fame," Scurry said via US Soccer press release. "Soccer had already given me so much more than I could possibly give back. Now, to be inducted alongside the likes of Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm, and Kristine Lilly - I am truly humbled. And though my mother and father have passed, I can feel their pride swell. Thank you for letting me play for you, and thank you all for this incredible honor."

To be eligible for the HoF, players must have met #1 and one of #2, 3, or 4 of the following criteria:

  1. A player must have been retired for at least three full calendar years, but for no more than 10 full calendar years (for purposes of the 2014 election, this means that a player must have retired no later than 2010 and no earlier than 2004).
  2. A player must have played at least 20 full international games for the United States. This 20-game requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990.
  3. A player must have played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and been a postseason league all-star at least once.
  4. 4. Played at least five seasons in the Major Indoor Soccer League between the end of the NASL in 1984 and the end of the MISL in 1992, and been selected as a first-team postseason all-star in at least one of those seasons.

Nominees are then elected if they are named on at least 66.7% of ballots cast, with voting committee members able to vote for up to 10 candidates.

Scurry’s election is significant in that she is the first black female player and the first female goalkeeper to be inducted. These firsts are partially a reflection of the shorter history of women’s soccer in the United States - with the team having only officially existed since 1985, there haven’t been as many retired female goalkeepers with 20+ caps to consider. But they are also a reflection of the lack of diversity in the game, something that has only recently begun to be corrected with increased participation by black players at all levels. Where Scurry was once the only black woman on the team, the USWNT now regularly has players like Sydney Leroux, Christen Press, Casey Short, Crystal Dunn, and Mallory Pugh. Scurry helped pave the way for young black girls to envision themselves as top-level players who could one day represent their country or have a professional career.

Scurry is perhaps most well-known for making a crucial stop during the deciding penalties in the 1999 World Cup final against China, allowing the United States to ultimately win. But she has played in three World Cups and two Olympics (both resulting in gold medals) and was a founding member of the Women’s United Soccer Association. She retired in 2010 with 175 caps and 72 career shutouts.

Scurry now advocates for concussion/traumatic brain injury awareness, having herself suffered several concussions which ultimately affected her health and quality of life. Despite only being eligible since 2014, Scurry’s election to the HoF really has taken too long. She was a vital contributor to the success of the WNT and to women’s soccer as a whole in the United States. Congratulations, Briana Scurry.