What Soccer Was Like When Retired Soccer Star Briana Scurry First Started Playing

Soccer great Briana Scurry started playing soccer at 12 on an all boys team and in the goal — the "safest" position for a girl ...

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[Briana Scurry] My first year playing soccer, when I was 12, I played on an all-boys team. They put me in the goal, thinking that was a safe place for the girl to play. And, turns out, it's probably the most dangerous position on the field. We didn't really talk about concussions or whatnot. When you got your "bell rung," which is usually the phrase they used, you just had to shake it off or go get some water or get back in there and get back to it. So it was never really that big of a topic or concern, really—to be honest with you—back then. And that was—I was 12, so it was a long time ago, but it wasn't really that much discussion about it back then. I do remember a few hits to the head when I was younger. I remember coming out for a ball—when I was 12, actually—my first year— and part of the problem back then was, you're a little awkward. You're just trying to get the ball, and you lead with your head, and maybe you get it bumped a little bit. I got hit in the side of the head lightly with a boy's knee— it wasn't that big of a deal, I just shook it off and went on. And then, I had pretty good luck the next few years after that, not having any major injuries or anything, but I also went from the goal to the field the next 4 years, and played on an all-girls team. So, I played goalkeeper and in the field, and I don't recall any hits during that time. Concussions weren't that—weren't at the tip of peoples' tongues when I was in college. The most important thing then was being aggressive, learning the game. I have always had a lot of courage, and no fear—because if you're going to play goalkeeper, you have to be courageous— and just—you literally stick your head into places, and you're trying to get hit with the ball, as opposed to getting out of the way. So, sometimes you'll run into players or teammates or whomever— and you're just trying to get the ball and do your thing, and you don't think about what would happen if— you're just trying to do what you're trying to do, which is be passionate, and play the sport to the best of your ability.
Posted on BrainLine January 22, 2014.

About the author: Briana Scurry

Briana Scurry is widely thought of as one of the world’s best female soccer goalkeepers. After being named starting goalkeeper for the United States women’s national soccer team in 1994, she helped lead the team in two Olympic gold medals (1996 and 2004), a World Cup  championship (1999), and she had 173 international appearances — a record among female soccer players.

Briana Scurry

Produced by Christian Lindstrom, Ashley Gilleland, Justin Rhodes, and Victoria Tilney McDonough, BrainLine.