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‘The Only’ documentary chronicles compelling Briana Scurry story


The Only Briana Scurry

Undoubtedly, former USWNT star goalkeeper Briana Scurry has an interesting life story. Not only did Scurry put together a standout career with the national side for 15 years. She also acted as a trailblazer for the sport and women’s sports at large.

Scurry is the first openly gay player in the USWNT. Plus, the National Soccer Hall of Fame elected Scurry as the first black woman to hold the honor. In doing so, Scurry inspired young girls from all over the country.

The Only documents Briana Scurry and her up-and-down life

Scheduled for release on July 12 via Paramount+, The Only is a new documentary about the life of Briana Scurry.

Essentially, The Only covers much of Briana Scurry’s life from childhood until the present day. She was a star for soccer in the 1990s and 2000s. Yet, the documentary digs deeper to shed light on what Scurry endured. This includes both her professional and personal lives in the spotlight. In many instances, the documentary presents new information that casual soccer fans may not know. Even then, viewers do not need to be soccer fans to enjoy the 100-minute documentary.

Soccer, particularly the women’s national team, is obviously a big part of The Only. But, her story is so much more than just being a legendary soccer player. Briana Scurry navigated her life and career as a gay black woman during harsher times. The documentary underlines these themes throughout its run time.

Lack of fame despite success

One of the clear highlights of the documentary was undoubtedly when Scurry explained her mental process during the famous penalty shootout in the 1999 World Cup Final. While Brandi Chastain ultimately received most of the attention for scoring the match-winning goal, Scurry made a massive save just prior to Chastain’s winner. Without the save, the Chastain goal would not have won United States the gold medal. Nevertheless, media focused on Chastain’s penalty instead of Scurry’s save, which put Chastain in that position.

Goal-scorers certainly receive more attention than goalkeepers or defenders in soccer. However, The Only questions if Scurry’s skin color or sexual orientation played into her praise from media and fans following the game. Despite Briana Scurry’s importance in the team for over a decade, she did not receive the equal marketing or popularity of Chastain or Mia Hamm.

Departure from the USWNT

The Hope Solo incident during the 2007 World Cup Semi Final against Brazil was also compelling, yet sad to watch. Solo, the starting goalkeeper for the tournament, was benched by head coach Greg Ryan in favor of Scurry for the match against Brazil. The U.S. women, however, were thrashed 4-0 in the game and Solo bashed both the coach and Scurry during a now infamous post-match interview.

Off the pitch, the documentary concludes with Scurry’s story following her career-ending and life-altering concussion. Serious health issues and financial troubles, followed by a slow rebuilding process ultimately culminates into a second career.

Although The Only is perhaps a bit unstructured and not exactly a free-flowing linear story, it is still a very compelling and interesting documentary. Briana Scurry’s life is just undoubtedly fascinating. The ebbs and flows of her story throughout her childhood, soccer career, and post-soccer life make for an enthralling watch. The Only can be accessed via Paramount+ beginning on July 12th.



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