‘They didn’t want us to be equal’
Briana Scurry is an ex-goalie for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. She has impeccable timing.
Her physical timing and ability to keep the ball in her hands earned her the starting goalkeeper position for the USWNT. She set an international record for 173 appearances at the position, which led to two Olympic gold medals.
Scurry’s greatest display of physical timing might have been in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final match against China. In Los Angeles, she stopped Liu Ying’s overtime penalty kick. Brandichastain was able to complete the win for the U.S. and bring home its second championship. Penalty kicksThey are only 36 feet from the goal, and at an average speed of 70 miles per hours, give goalkeepers less time to react.
Such moments won Scurry a landmark deal with Nike. This secured her place not only in America’s Soccer Hall of Fame but also at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
As she points out, her timing has also often put her in the right place at the right time to push for change — whether that be growing up with the benefits of Title IX or joining the USWNT during a period of increased visibility.
The Women’s National Team is a place where you can put on a jersey and become a champion for equal pay. This is how it works. The mantle you accept as an essential part of your football playing experience on the pitch is just as important. Scurry states that even if you take your cleats off, the mantle is not lost. It’s something that you choose to take on when you enter the world, especially if it’s a woman. Because there seems to be an inequity everywhere. My taste happens to be women’s soccer, while someone else’s tastes are corporate C-suite.
CNBC Make It interviewed Scurry to discuss the USWNT’s struggle for equal pay, and how long it takes.
“We are fighting to achieve pay equality. My age is 50. “When I reach 80 I am assuming we’ll still be fighting for it,” she said. These are long journeys.
Scurry grew up playing basketball and soccer in Minnesota. He was inspired to take sport seriously after watching 1980 Olympics, when the United States Men’s Hockey Team defeated the Soviet Union during “Miracle on Ice.”
“I told my dad and mom, ‘I want be an Olympian!’” It’s something she still recalls. She says, “I was the exact thing I saw, and I got what I wanted. But in terms of earning a living doing it, it wasn’t how I saw it.” It was my desire to become an Olympian.
Scurry claims she didn’t know it was possible for women to play professional soccer because it wasn’t something she saw.
She says, “It was not something that I believed I could earn a living from.” It was an amateur sport, which meant there wasn’t much money. And then it changed in 1992, that was the first Olympics where they had professionals playing… Now young girls see Alex Morgan or Megan Rapinoe doing amazing things and they know exactly which sport they want to play and what it takes. This was something we didn’t have. We did not have role models like that back then. “Ball players were my role model.”
Also, she looked at figures such as Billie Jean KingShe would mentor the USWNT during their fight for equal pay. Scurry was then recruited by University of Massachusetts Amherst and she continued playing basketball.
Scurry states that “Soccer goalkeeping and soccer just happened to me being the best thing and so that was my vehicle for getting into college and then later to make it to the national teams.” Scurry: “I had no idea there was such a thing.” [national team]My sophomore year of college was my last. It was accidental, and it was a beautiful and serendipitous meeting between me and the national team.
The pathway to international (and collegiate) soccer was possible thanks to Title IXThis law requires federally-funded educational institutions to provide equal sports opportunities to all students. It was passed in 1972 — just a year after Scurry was born.
“It was the perfect time. It was the law that allowed me to live my life as it has. It was really instrumental. Scurry said that it was a crucial moment. “I don’t know if it would have made it possible for me to attend college without this scholarship.
Scurry is writing a book to mark the 50th anniversary Title IX.
In September, the USSF announced it would offer the respective players’ unions for the men’sAnd women’s national teams the same contract proposal — players on the women’s team responded with cautious optimism and significant skepticism. Scurry recalls the strikingly different treatment that the USSF gave the women’s and men’s teams when she was a member of the USWNT 1993.
The women flew in business class even if they were flying internationally. She says that women were often given middle seats and aisle seats when they couldn’t fly business class. Men are larger and require more space.
Similar thinking was applied to the explanation of why women received significantly lower per-diem salaries.
The women received $5 per day or $25 per diem. While the men were awarded $25, they got $25. The international average was $10, while the men got $35. “And the excuse was that men eat less,” she said. “I am a rational thinker. I’m a Virgo. We were fed meals, so this money was not for food. They were making excuses for not wanting us equal.
CNBC Make It reached USSF for comment. However, they did not respond immediately.
In 1995Nine members of Scurry’s national team chose not to attend the Olympic training camp in protest against unequal conditions at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. At the timeOnly women who won gold would receive an Olympic bonus, while men will get bonuses for taking gold, silver and bronze.
USSF stated that the USSF would not accept any “internal” donations.award mediocracy” and barred players from contesting the terms.
“I joined the team in November 1993, having played in a World Cup. I was a quick core player and had quickly become a key player, but I didn’t stay on the team very long. “I was absolutely in favor of making the stand, even though it was so early in my 20s. I also understood the gravity and importance of what we were doing,” she said. “But, I also knew what I was putting at risk.”
This risk made the move all the more frightening, and the solidarity among her fellow striking teammates, even more valuable — a feeling that Scurry says can likely be appreciated by many workers who are organizing.
I was at the brink of seeing my Olympic dream become a reality. Then, it happened. We were about to lose our dream. Because it was the first ever women’s Olympic gold medal for soccer, it was very high risk. It was the Olympic games in the United States that year. Our team was one of the favorite to win. At the same time, we tried to develop our sport and the situation was fragile.
Scurry once again was fortunate with the timing. We had leverage, because we won the 1991 world championship, and so, we were confident that we can win again. The Federation provided additional resources as well as more funding.
Scurry was able to support herself playing professional soccer without taking on side jobs — which many current and former professional women’s soccer players must do to make ends meet
“I am extremely fortunate because Nike brought Nike into my life when I was on the national team. She says that Nike was new to soccer. I was among the five first Nike soccer players, so the revenue from the deal made a big difference.”
According to her Nike contract, she was paid $40,000 per year. She also remembers her first $20,000 bi-annual check.
It was very expensive for me. It was unbelievable. Scurry recalls that he was earning money from soccer. “I was fortunate to be born at the perfect time. I didn’t need supplemental income.”
She continued, “Because Nike, our push with Federation, then the ’96 Olympic games coming just after it was, I was able simply to play soccer for a livelihood, which was amazing,” she said. Because the years preceding my joining of the national team were extremely dry, I was able to make the most of it. Many players were either required to coach or return to school in order to teach or coach college teams. I was fortunate to come into the team at an ideal time.
Scurry, despite her appreciation, stresses that women, such as Scurry, often need to make plans for a second career after sports.
There is a clear need for women professional athletes to consider what the future holds. The window to play on the court, the field or pitch is so small that it is hard to imagine how you will live your whole life. And the money won’t last forever.”
Scurry was hit with a third in April 2010. career-ending concussionThen came three more years of constant headaches. In the years since, she has raised awareness about head injuries and soccer in general. front of Congress
Despite her unexpected retirement being “difficult”, Scurry insists that her timing and career would have been the same.
“I was really struggling, but I could not have found my wife had that not occurred.”
Scurry was married to Chryssa Zizos (founder and CEO at Live Wire Strategic Communications) while pushing her insurance company for coverage for her head injuries.
“My career at the time was with what it allowed me to do, and how it ended up, had an impact on millions of young girls’ chances in ways that wouldn’t have been possible at all or until very late.” These things are what happen,” she says. She also mentions how Alex Morgan, one of the most prominent equal-pay advocates, and soccer players, has made an impact on her life. Christen PressDuring her huge save, and U.S.’s major win in 1999, we were there in the stands.
Just like I did when I was eight, watching the [Miracle on Ice]People’s lives will change when they see something similar.