Roscoe Nance worked at USA TODAY for 21 years. (Facebook Photo)

Former USA TODAY soccer writer Roscoe Nance passed away on Thursday.

He was 71.

He was surrounded by his family in his home in Herndon, Va.

Nance, who covered soccer for several years for the newspaper, was one of two print journalists who travelled to China and wrote about the U.S. women’s triumph at the very first Women’s World Cup in 1991. Soccer America’s Ridge Mahoney was the other writer.

Born Dec. 8, 1948, Nance wrote for USA TODAY from 1986-2007. His specialties including pro basketball and colleges. He also covered the Olympics. Nance worked as a free-lance journalist since then.

He was a graduate of Tuskegee University and was a founding member and the first president of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Alumni Association.

Nance started his writing career at The (Columbus, Ga.) Enquirer in 1975 then moved to The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger, becoming the first black sportswriter for a Mississippi daily newspaper.

In 2014, Nance was inducted into the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.

“I am surprised and humbled,” Nance told the Union Springs Herald, adding that he didn’t even attend a SWAC college. “But I remember something that Archie ‘Gunslinger’ Cooley [former Mississippi Valley State football coach] told me. He said ‘If you work hard, someone will notice you.’ ”

A celebration of life services will announced soon by the Carter Funeral Home in Union Springs, Ala.

In lieu of flowers, Nance’s family has asked for tax deductible contributions to support the Y C Nance Foundation (Y C Nance Foundation Post Office Box 510 Union Springs, AL 36089).