CHICAGO (Sept. 8, 2010) – Briana Scurry, who will forever be remembered for her dramatic save during the penalty kick shootout at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, has retired from professional soccer.
Scurry made the announcement today during a press event at the Maryland SoccerPlex, home of her current and final club, the Washington Freedom.
Scurry was the USA’s first-choice goalkeeper for most of the 11 years between 1994 and 2004, during which time she helped the USA to a pair of Olympic gold medals and the 1999 Women’s World Cup title.
Known for her steely mental toughness and her ability to make crucial saves in the biggest of matches, the wonderfully athletic Scurry earned 173 caps for the USA, but far the most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. She started 159 of those games and finished her international career with a record of 133-12-14. She also earned 71 shutouts.
During the three Women’s World Cup tournaments and two Olympic Games in which she played, Scurry was in goal for just two losses, compiling a record of 22-2-5 over those competitions. Her 19 matches in World Cup play are by also far the most ever for a U.S. goalkeeper.
While she locked down the starting spot in the U.S. goal for the better part of a decade, she will probably be most remembered for saving China’s third penalty kick during the dramatic shootout victory at the historic 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. In a match watched by 90,185 fans, still the most to ever view a women’s sporting event, she dove to her left to push away the attempt of Liu Ying while the USA made all five of its kicks, culminating in Brandi Chastain’s famous World Cup winning kick and the ensuing shirt removing celebration.
Scurry was just 22 years old and fresh out of the Univeristy of Massachusetts, where she was the consensus top college ‘keeper in the country, when she debuted for the USA against Portugal at the 1994 Algarve Cup in Portugal. Scurry saw a dip in her national team career following the 1999 Women’s World Cup, lost her job for the 2000 Olympics and did not play for the USA in 2001, but, bolstered by a strong performance for the Atlanta Beat in the WUSA, she returned to the National Team in 2002 and started for the USA in both the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2004 Olympics. She also played two matches for the USA in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and was the alternate goalkeeper on the 2008 Olympic Team. Her last match for the USA came on Nov. 5, 2008, against the Korea Republic.
Scurry was a founding player for the Atlanta Beat in the Women’s United Soccer Association where she was the starting goalkeeper for the three seasons (2001-2003) of the league. She helped the Beat to two WUSA Championship Games and was the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2003.
Scurry was one of a handful of players from the WUSA to also play in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) where she has played the last two seasons with the Freedom. She only played sparingly during the 2010 season, and early on in the campaign suffered a season-ending injury.
The retirement of Scurry leaves just four players from the 1999 Women’s World Cup Team still active in professional soccer: defenders Kate Markgraf and Christie Rampone, forward Tiffeny Milbrett and midfielder Kristine Lilly.