Twenty-three years ago, Briana Scarry suddenly found herself in the spotlight and stayed in it for a long time.
Twelve years ago, Scarry was suddenly taken out of the spotlight, and she remained on the sidelines for a long time.
Yes, that’s how long it’s been since Scarry hit a heroic penalty shootout in the 1999 Women’s World Cup final; and after a career-ending head injury, she received a 2010 women’s professional soccer game against the Philadelphia Independence.
Nearly a generation of American football fans have not seen Scarry play live. They only know what history says about her career in the Hall of Fame: 173 caps for national teams in 15 years, four trips to the World Cup, three Olympics and three major titles: the 1999 World Cup, the 1996 Olympics (first edition women’s football tournament). and the 2004 Olympics.
After a break at West Chester Football Stadium on 25 April 2010, Scarry never played professional football again. In 2011, she spent some time in the public eye as an analyst for ESPN at the Women’s World Championship and as general manager of the ill-fated WPS team MagicJack. Then she stepped back for a long time.
In 2017, Scarry began to make a comeback by taking a job as a coach with the Washington Spirit NWSL. She made several high-profile appearances in 2019, including at the 1999 All-Stars reunion where she directly questioned Team USA’s goalie depth chart.
This summer, she returned to the stage again. Her new memoirs, My Greatest Escape: The Bold, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper, was published Tuesday and co-written with Wayne Coffey, who helped Carly Lloyd write her autobiography. And on July 12, CBS Sports will present “The only one” documentary on Paramount+ telling the story of Scarry.
» READ MORE: Penn State product Sam Coffey (yes, that’s Wayne’s daughter) is a top contender for NWSL Rookie of the Year.
“I’m as excited and excited as when we won the championships,” Scarry, now 50 (yes, really), told The Inquirer. “When I first thought about it in 2019, I needed to make sure I was ready to go back into those rooms of my life and really be authentic about what I experienced and how I felt about it at the time. And I wanted to be able to do that not only with awesome stuff, but also with some not-so-cool stuff.”
She gained strength for this through advocacy work on behalf of people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.
“I have found that the more sincere and honest you are with people, the more they feel it in their hearts, trust you and trust you,” she said. “I knew that I had to be honest and honor not only my history, but the legacy of my mom and dad, my amazing teammates and everyone in my life who I really appreciate. … Not to mention that at times it wasn’t uncomfortable, and at times it wasn’t difficult. But if I knew the words on the page were true, I would be proud of it.”
Scarry also joined the CBS studio football team. After several appearances earlier this year, she will be on the CONCACAF Women’s Championship coverage team next month. The tournament will be a qualifying round for the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games. (Each game will be on Paramount+, and the US tournament opener against Haiti on July 4 will also air on CBS Sports Network.)
» READ MORE: Alex Morgan and Megan Rapino return to US Women’s Soccer Team for World Cup and Olympic Qualification
She will be on camera Briana Scarri, former soccer star. But her true face is what she is even more proud of: Briana Scarry, former lesbian football star.
The running around has been public for some time. When she played, not only her teammates knew about it, but four years ago she got married. But it’s still a step to feel comfortable telling the world.
The running around taking this step is the main theme of the book and documentary, the last of which she has yet to see in full. She is ready to be surprised.
“I trust Pete [Radovich, the producer] and to the guys at CBS/Paramount+ for an exceptional job,” Scarry said. “The trailer gave me goosebumps and this is my life.”
The trailer includes some of former USWNT star forward Abby Wambach’s reflections on how the Scurry inspired her. The key moment came when sponsors turned their backs on Wambach because of her sexuality. The same thing happened to Scarry, and at first she didn’t understand why.
“Later in my life, I was told that the same thing happened to me: because I was absent, many companies did not pay attention to me,” Scarry said. “I thought it was because I am a goalkeeper. It was either because I was away, or, or both, the way I looked, or something like that, you know? But yes”.
» READ MORE: Megan Rapinoe hails ‘huge step forward’ in US National Football Team equal pay agreements
Scarry now knows that there was another layer to what Wambach went through.
“Because I was willing to be open and honest about my sexuality,” Scarry said, “it allowed her to feel comfortable and become who she became, and Megan Rapino was able to “steal it,” as [Wambach] put it down. I never knew she felt this way.”
Those words lingered for a moment.
“I knew Abby struggled with her sexuality when she was younger because of her family’s religion and how big she was,” Scarry said. “But I didn’t realize that I helped her come to terms with who she was. I did not know that”.
Society is more open now than it was when Scarry played. There are many openly homosexual black players in the sport now, and some of them have called Scurry a role model.
“It means the whole world to me,” Scarry said. “Being authentic yourself, being in the public eye and being seen is sometimes really scary for a lot of people, and sometimes it’s a risk that a person feels like he’s going for something that he may feel like he’s not worth it. And so the fact that so many of these young women feel like they looked up to me and were able to truly be themselves is music to my ears.”