KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Current goalkeeper Adrianna ‘AD’ Franch and former U.S women’s national team goalkeeper Briana Scurry have long been linked together.
Franch became a fan of Scurry at nine years old when she watched Scurry guide the USWNT to two Olympic gold medals, a World Cup championship and several World Cup third-place finishes as a child in Salina, Kansas.
As Franch made her way through the youth ranks on the way to Oklahoma State, she was even deemed “the next Bri Scurry,” and they both share a few similarities. Both 5-foot-9 Black goalkeepers, both gay and married to women, both with storied careers and both have passionate, infectious personalities on and off the field.
And both women are never shy to sing each other’s praises.
“AD Franch, she’s amazing,” Scurry said in a Zoom interview in August.
“I was inspired by her play, but I’m inspired by the human being she is,” Franch said after an early September practice.
Scurry’s first memory of Franch is when she learned that Franch would wear Scurry’s name on the back of her jersey in the 2019 SheBelieves Cup in Nashville. The USWNT wore the names of iconic and influential women for Women’s History Month.
That match also marked Franch becoming the first Black USWNT goalkeeper since Scurry.
“[USWNT Press Officer Aaron Heifetz] told me that AD was gonna wear my name, and I was like, ‘Oh that’s really cool, that’s neat,’ and I kind of forgot about it,” Scurry said.
“Then when I watched the game and I saw her have my name on her back, I cried! I took a picture of it, I posted it on my socials, it was the cutest thing ever. Then I met AD later after that, and she’s a great person.”
Franch has played with the U-20, U-23 and senior national teams and first connected with Scurry through events with USWNT. Before the Current’s Aug. 28 match with the North Carolina Courage, the two got to have breakfast where they discussed goalkeeping, the mental side of soccer, leadership and life.
“We actually had to stop the conversation because we were going on and on and didn’t even realize the time,” Franch said.
Then Scurry got to watch Franch help the Current extend their NWSL unbeaten streak to 12 games.
“She gave a big congratulations. It was really cool to see her in a KC Current jersey,” Franch said. “I think it’s a massive…. step in general just for us being able to show her the facility here.”
And the bond and admiration between goalkeepers is always strong.
“They talk about goalkeepers being crazy; yeah, yeah, we are a little bit. I think the biggest word I like to use is courage because I’ve been hit in the face a few times this year,” Franch said.
“She’s still being courageous. Putting her life out there in a book and knowing that if it reaches one person, it can change a life and that’s what she’s doing.”
Scurry’s book My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper, chronicles her highs as a USWNT and her lows after a knee to her head in 2010 left her with severe brain trauma, ended her career and had her contemplating suicide. She also has a documentary on Paramount+ “The Only” that documents her journey as well.
Scurry said she’s healthy and feeling good; her book tour has kept her busy all summer, and she gifted Franch a book during her visit.
The National Soccer Hall of Famer has the accolades, the book and has done some coaching and commentary as well. She said her future consists of being around the game in different ways, public speaking engagements and making an impact in those avenues.
But with all her work, it will be tough for Scurry to emulate the impact she’s had on AD Franch.
“She’s just constantly wanting to impact the game in so many ways and impact people because she cares about people and it’s like I said, really great company to be around,” Franch said.
For 31-year-old Franch, she’s been an NWSL champion and a two-time NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year along with 10 appearances with the USWNT.
With her still playing at a near-elite level, she won’t stop until she can no longer keep improving her game.
“Until then I’m gonna keep trying to learn different things and add things to my game and enjoy this with this group,” Franch said as she points back to the Current’s brand new facility.
“You gotta enjoy the journey because we just love playing this game.”
Scurry marks the athletic traits that both women share in their game: point-blank saves, great range in the box and also commends Franch for having better feet than she does with her signature laugh.
The legend also said Franch has evolved into a greater talent than she was, and she’s glad she can have such an impact on a player who is becoming a role model to kids today.
“I do see a lot of myself in her,” Scurry said.
“I’m so glad and grateful that I could inspire her because I know that she is inspiring other young girls in Kansas City and all over the country that watch her play, and I like to think I had a hand in that so that’s pretty neat.”
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