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Legendary goalie Briana Scurry on World Cup and U.S. women’s soccer

Legendary goalie Briana Scurry on World Cup and U.S. women’s soccer


JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. women’s national soccer
team is returning to the World Cup final for the third straight time, after winning a nail-biter
today against England. It was close from the outset, as both teams
scored early. Team USA scored first, with a goal from Christen
Press, who played instead of co-captain Megan Rapinoe. England retaliated soon after. Then, the U.S.’ other co-captain, Alex Morgan,
scored the second goal. In the second half, England appeared to tie
the match, but the goal was taken back on a penalty call. England had one more shot to tie it on a penalty
kick. It was Steph Houghton against the American
goalie, Alyssa Naeher. ANNOUNCER: On the whistle, Houghton is ready. So is Naeher. Houghton’s shot saved by Naeher! (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JUDY WOODRUFF: On Sunday, the U.S. will defend
its World Cup title against the winner of the Netherlands-Sweden match, which will be
played this weekend. Briana Scurry knows something about winning
saves. She was the starting goalkeeper for the U.S.
women’s nation soccer team in the ’90s. She was a two-time Olympic gold medalist. She was also goalie for the 1999 World Cup
champions. Briana Scurry, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” BRIANA SCURRY, 1999 World cup Champion Goalkeeper:
Thank you for having me. Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, I know you were celebrating,
you were pumping your fist just now watching that. What — explain it. What happened today? BRIANA SCURRY: So, today was an amazing win
for the USA, but also, throughout the entire tournament, the goalkeeping of the USA has
been a question mark, because Alyssa Naeher, this is her first time ever playing in a major
tournament, whether it’s a World Cup or an Olympics. And so for her to make that huge save at the
very end of the game was so crucial for her to be able to prove to herself and to everyone
that USA is here to play and that she’s a big part of this team. JUDY WOODRUFF: Was there a question about
that before? BRIANA SCURRY: There was a little question
about it, because whenever a goal keeper comes in, and it’s the first time, you just really
don’t know what you’re going to get. And even though the USA has had a really great
run at the tournament, Alyssa hasn’t had to do a whole lot up until today. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, a lot of conversation before
the game was getting started that Megan Rapinoe wasn’t going to be playing, that she didn’t
warm up. And yet they won. BRIANA SCURRY: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: So does that tell us something? BRIANA SCURRY: What it tells you is that this
is 23 players, and it’s an entire team, and Megan Rapinoe, when she’s needed, does her
job incredibly well. She scored the two goals the game before and
the two goals game before that, but today wasn’t able to go. I mean, I believe it was a slight hamstring
injury that they didn’t think was able to go through. But you know what? The team picked up. Christen Press came in and played, got a goal
right away. And then Alex Morgan finished it off, and
Alyssa did her part. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, a team with depth, is that
what you’re saying? BRIANA SCURRY: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. This is the deepest team I have ever seen. You essentially have two 11-side teams that
are just as fantastic as any other team in this tournament. JUDY WOODRUFF: So how much competition was
England? I heard some conversation afterwards about
the formation that they used and so forth. But what — how did you see that? BRIANA SCURRY: Well, a tournament like this
is interesting, because a team will play a certain way the entire way through the tournament. And England had been playing incredibly well. But when a team comes up against the United
States, they often change their system or their personnel. And that’s exactly what England did. They did have a great run at it. They did have an opportunity. As you saw on the video, they actually almost
appeared to tie the game. And so they had a fantastic run at it. They really should be proud of what they have
done. JUDY WOODRUFF: And now, as we say, the U.S.
will face the winner of Netherlands, Sweden. And we have been — people have been talking
over the last couple of weeks about how the European teams are doing better. They have almost been inspired by the U.S. I mean, what’s going on there? BRIANA SCURRY: It’s a fantastic story. I think, for me, in 1999, when our team did
incredibly well in the World Cup, that essentially created just this burst of activity and interest
in women’s soccer, not only in our country, but all around the world. And so now what you’re seeing, two decades
later, a lot of these programs have had funding put into them. And now these women’s teams are really making
a play to be the top dog on the world stage. And that’s what you’re seeing. You essentially have two England — two European
teams playing for the semifinal tomorrow, and the United States getting through to the
final. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, in a way, the little girls
who were watching 20 years ago or whose families were sitting around the TV or in the stadium
watching are now able to play themselves. BRIANA SCURRY: Yes. It’s an amazing thing, isn’t it? I mean, for me, it’s so gratifying to see
these players who saw my ’99 team do something, and now they’re doing the exact same thing. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, there is more interest
in women’s soccer. I mean, how do you see the change? I mean, I was reading some numbers today about
how many people, a billion people following this globally. How much of a change has there been? BRIANA SCURRY: Oh, it’s enormous. It’s exploded, really. I think social media is really a big part
of that change, not only social media, but also sponsorship. Nike and LUNA Bar and all these different
sponsors, Allstate and Coca-Cola, are now part of the amazing sponsorship that U.S.
soccer has. And that alone, these companies have put this
team out there, so that people can connect with them, can understand them, can get to
know them. And then, with social media, each player has
their individual brand. And you get to really have a feel that you
know them. Like, you feel you know Alex because you can
look at her social media and see where she had coffee this morning. And that wasn’t something that existed back
when I played. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, were the — was the support
from these companies, did that follow the public — the rise in public interest or which? I mean, chicken or the egg? I mean, how do you — how do you — I mean,
how did that happen? BRIANA SCURRY: I think, first of all, it was
the fact that we were very successful in ’99 and throughout. We win. We win the World Cup. We win Olympic gold medals. Every team, every corporation wants to be
a part of a winner. So that’s one element. And that’s something that we have had for
decades. But, also, you see so many different kinds
of women that come through on the team. But they all have these qualities that are
great standards for companies to be a part of. And so when you have a winner coupled with
great personalities and people who really resemble somebody that you want to get behind,
it’s easy for companies to get on board. JUDY WOODRUFF: At the same time, we know there
is still a disparity in pay for men, — between what men are paid and what women are paid
for the same sport. And we know there’s been a lawsuit… BRIANA SCURRY: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: … that is, I guess, now in
mediation. BRIANA SCURRY: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Are we going to see that gap
closed? Or how much are we going to see women’s — what
women are paid come closer to what the men earn? BRIANA SCURRY: I think, ever since 1999, my
team started the whole battle with equality and equity in pay. And I think now, 20 years later, the lawsuit
was the next step, the next chapter, if you will, in that battle against U.S. soccer,
to get equality for a team that not only is incredibly successful — so that wasn’t an
issue — but very popular. Money is coming in. There’s revenue being generated. The last several years, the women’s team have
generated at least as much, if not more, than the men every single year. So, now that argument about you don’t generate
revenue, you don’t get ratings, those arguments aren’t valid anymore. So I think now is the time. Plus, society is different. You have all these women who just got into
Congress, who were voted into Congress recently. You have the MeToo movement. It’s just a different environment now. And I just think it’s time. It’s time for U.S. soccer to show that they’re
not only just the governing body for soccer for boys and men, but also for women and girls. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, clearly, you want a win
for the U.S. women in the final. BRIANA SCURRY: Yes. Yes, of course. JUDY WOODRUFF: What more do you want for U.S.
women’s soccer? BRIANA SCURRY: What I want is, I want everybody
to see the amazing inspiration that these women are. I mean, they’re out there. Even though they’re having this battle going
on behind the scenes, they’re still out there expressing themselves and doing their jobs
and making it work and being very personal. And they’re inspiring not only a nation, but
a world, really. And I really think that it’s important that
U.S. soccer and other sponsors get behind them and actually lift them up and be able
to have a next World Cup or a next Olympics where we’re not actually having to fight anymore
for equal pay. JUDY WOODRUFF: And I think of the little girls
who are out there watching. BRIANA SCURRY: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: It may be their turn 10, 20
years from now. BRIANA SCURRY: Yes, absolutely. Definitely. JUDY WOODRUFF: Briana Scurry, who is legendary
in U.S. women’s soccer, thank you. BRIANA SCURRY: Thank you for having me.

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