Throughout the years, we’ve seen incredible Black athletes in the sport of soccer. Here are 10 of our favorites highlighted in honor of February being Black History Month:
Briana Scurry: 1994-2008
Briana Scurry made a mark on the soccer world by being the only Black player on the 1999 world cup winning team, being the first Black woman and first female goalkeeper to be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, appearing at three World Cups, and two Olympics which resulted in medals. Scurry made a massive name for herself when she made an outstanding save in the 1999 World Cup final shootout that led to the win for the United States. During her soccer career with the USWNT, she made 173 international appearances and helped lead the team to unprecedented success. She also played for several domestic leagues before her career, unfortunately, came to an end due to a concussion. Now, Scurry has fully recovered from her traumatic brain injury after years of rehab, surgery, and hard work. She shares her story to educate players, coaches, and parents about concussions and uses her position to advocate for better protection for players. She also hopes that more research and investment into concussion safety, especially in the women's game will be looked into as a result of her advocacy and many others.
Alex Scott: 2002-2018
Alex Scott is a legend in England and the women's soccer r world. She won bronze with the English national team at the 2015 World Cup and was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2019. She won the quadruple with Arsenal in 2006-2007, winning the FA WSL, FA Cup, FA National League Cup, and UEFA Women's Champions League. Scott is now a sports presenter and pundit on BBC. At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Scott was seen wearing the pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband during England's match against Iran after team captains were threatened with sanctions for wearing it.
Sydney Leroux: 2005-present
Canadian-American Sydney Leroux is one of the most iconic and well-known women's soccer players of the 2010s. Although she was born and raised in Canada she knew from an early age she wanted to play for the USWNT, to pursue that dream Leroux moved to the US alone at 15 years old to finish her last two years of high school. Leroux then went on to play for UCLA where she collected many accolades including semi-finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy in her senior season (2011). Leroux dominates the field every time she steps on it, she scored the very first hat trick in NWSL history on May 4th, 2013, and went on to tie for second most goals scored in the same season with 11 goals. Leroux was a part of the USWNT during the 2013 Olympics where they brought home gold and during the 2015 World Cup. Above all of these trophies and titles, Sydney Leroux is a mom to two wonderful children, Cassius and Roux.
Wendie Renard: 2006-present
Wendie Renard is a veteran winner. With 8 Champions League wins, 14 Division 1 titles, and over 400 appearances between club and country, Renard is a stalwart presence with both Lyon and France. She is captain of both teams, having been Lyon's captain since 2013 and France's captain from 2013-2017 and again from 2021-present. Outside of her immense presence in soccer, Renard has worked for climate justice, appearing in a campaign to promote biodiversity.
Christen Press: 2009-present
Christen Press is an alumni of Stanford University where she still holds the title of all-time leading goal scorer in women's soccer with 71 goals. While at Stanford, she went on to beat many records and win the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2010. Press made her USWNT debut in 2013 in a game against Scotland, she had two goals and an assist making her only the third USWNT player to score two goals on their debut. Press is also the CEO of a lifestyle brand, Re-Inc.
Crystal Dunn: 2014-present
Crystal Dunn is a World Cup champ, 3x NWSL champion, Olympic bronze medalist, and now a mom. She returned to the field after giving birth to her son in October of 2022. Prior to her pregnancy, Dunn proved herself as one of the most important players for the USWNT due to her versatile and never-ending work ethic. Dunn was cut from the 2015 USWNT World Cup roster but worked to put herself in the picture again for 2019 and was more than successful. A forward turned midfielder turned left back, Dunn is one of the most versatile players the USWNT has ever seen.
Marie Antoinette Katoto: 2015-present
Paris Saint-Germain player Marie-Antoinette Katoto is regarded by many as a young phenom. At 24, she has won Division 1 Top Scorer three times, the Coupe de France twice, the 2021 Division 1 Championship, and is the all-time leading goal scorer with PSG. In addition to her excellent performance on the pitch, Katoto has also voiced her support for eliminating racism from supporters' culture.
Barbra Banda: 2016-present
Barbra Banda is quickly becoming one of the most exciting African players in the world. She had a breakout tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Banda became the first female player in Olympic history to score back-to-back hat tricks and the first to score two hat tricks in one Olympic tournament. On a club level, Banda plays for Shanghai Shengli in the Chinese Women's Super League, where in 2020 she was the league's top scorer.
Lauren James: 2017-present
Lauren James is so much more than Reece James's little sister.
An FA WSL champion with Chelsea in 2021-22 and FA Women's Championship Champion with Manchester United in 2018-19, James is only 21 years old but is making huge strides toward her future. At just 16 years old, she made her professional debut with Arsenal becoming the second-youngest player in Arsenal's history to make their debut. James scored Manchester United's first-ever WSL goal in September of 2019 and this month, she scored her first senior national team goal with England against South Korea in the Arnold Clark Cup.
Jayde Riviere: 2019-present
Jayde Riviere is one of Canada's young talents on their backline. She earned her first senior cap with Canada in 2017 at 16 years old. She went on to play college soccer at the University of Michigan from 2019-2022, helping lead Wolverines to their first Big Ten tournament title since 1999 in 2019. In April of 2022, she signed with AFC Ann Arbor of the USL W League for their inaugural season. After deciding not to declare for the NWSL Draft, Riviere signed her first professional contract with Manchester United in January 2023.