The tenacious and skillful Sauerbrunn, who was a captain for the USA at the U-19 level, has shown the ability to play in the center and on the outside. She made her debut in Pia Sundhage's first match in 2008. Sauerbrunn started three matches during the USA's championship run at the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Vancouver, Canada. In 2011, she set personal highs with 12 games and eight starts while making her first Women's World Cup roster with a 90-minute performance in the semifinal victory against France.
Photos from the U.S. WNT's second of two matches against Mexico in preparation for the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship.
Amy Rodriguez, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan Tally Goals;
USA Eyes 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Starting Oct. 15 vs. Trinidad & Tobago at Sporting Park in Kansas City
CHICAGO (Aug. 29, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 28 players for a training camp prior to two matches against Mexico, on Sept. 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and on Sept. 18 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, New York.
The Sept. 13 kickoff time has changed to 7:30 p.m. MT and the game is live on ussoccer.com (TICKETS). The Sept. 18 match kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN (TICKETS). Fans can also follow the U.S. WNT on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp.
This will be the first extended training period Ellis has had with the team since she was officially named the head coach on May 16. It will also be the final camp and matches before she names a 20-player roster that will attempt to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship being held in Kansas City, Kansas; Bridgeview, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; and Chester, Pennsylvania, from Oct. 15-26.
“Obviously as a coaching staff in the international arena, you are delighted when you can get a large group of players together for an extended period,” said Ellis. “It’s no secret that the battle for spots on the qualifying roster will be extremely competitive and we’re looking forward to the training environment and two tough games against a Mexico team that we will likely see again during the CONCACAF Championship.”
Twenty-nine players have represented the USA in international competition this year and 25 of them were invited to this camp along with midfielder Shannon Boxx and goalkeepers Nicole Barnhart and Alyssa Naeher, all of whom have yet to see action for the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2014.
The majority of the roster will begin training in Salt Lake City on Sept. 5 with the eight players who are playing in the NWSL Championship Game this weekend getting a few extra days off. Seattle Reign FC and FC Kansas City players will arrive on Sept. 8. Midfielder Morgan Brian, the lone non-professional on the roster, will arrive into camp on Sept. 7 after completing her weekend games with the University of Virginia.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo will likely get a shot to break the USA’s all-time shutout record in one of the matches against Mexico. She is currently tied with former U.S. great Briana Scurry at 71 career shutouts.
- Jill Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each of the matches.
- The USA comes into the matches with an 8-2-3 record in 2014.
- Twenty-seven of the 28 players named played in the NWSL this season.
- The five U.S. strikers scored a combined 36 goals in the NWSL this season, although Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach missed significant parts of the season due to injury and Christen Press played in less than half the season’s matches after returning from Europe.
- Should Christie Rampone play in both Mexico matches, her cap total would grow to 297, meaning she would have a chance to hit 300 during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October. Kristine Lilly is the only other player in soccer history to play 300 or more times for their country.
- Ali Krieger’s next cap will be her 50th, which would make her the 48th player in U.S. WNT history to reach 50 international appearances.
- The USA is 27-1-1 all-time against Mexico.
- Several U.S. players won NWSL postseason awards: Alyssa Naeher was the Goalkeeper of the Year, Becky Sauerbrunn was the Defender of the Year and Julie Johnston was the Rookie of the Year.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (10): Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Kristie Mewis (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)
The very first venture into big-time international soccer for U.S. Women's National Team players Becky Sauerbrunn and Amy Rodriguez turned into a bittersweet experience.
Their participation at the 2004 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship was quite sweet because of its exotic location – Thailand – and the competition opened the eyes of both teenagers to the demands of one the highest levels of international soccer.
It was bitter as well, because the Americans failed in their quest to win the championship and due to the damage and loss of life the great tsunami caused a month afterwards.
The team had discovered paradise in Phuket, Thailand.
"I loved my experience in Thailand," Rodriguez said. "It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Actually, one of my favorite countries ever. Very exotic, very beautiful. It was gorgeous. It was amazing."
The team's first two group-stage games were in Phuket. The USA stayed at a beach hotel.
"We lucked out," Sauerbrunn said. "You look out your window and you're looking straight at the ocean. The first time I walked through the lobby I was like 'Oh my God. I had never seen this.' It was beautiful. I really wasn't expecting the turnout at the games, either. The Thai people really came out. We got 10,000 people for the opening matches and for a lot of us; we had never played in front of that kind of crowd before. The country did the tournament justice."
It might have been paradise, but the tournament was work for the WNT. The U.S. won its first four matches before running into a talented German side, losing them in the semifinals, 3-1. Germany would go on to win the tournament. The USA blanked Brazil and an 18-year-old Marta in the third-place match, 3-0.
Rodriguez said not winning "was quite disappointing," which only left the players hungry for more success.
"Most definitely," she said. "My goal, my ultimate career goal at this point is to win a World Cup. I'm hoping that I have a good year this year and I can make that World Cup team and hopefully get that World Cup gold that I haven't been able to get."
The tournament turned out to be a learning experience on several levels.
"It was a gut check," Sauerbrunn said. "It was kind of an expectation that we were going to win. For a lot of girls it was the first time, like, wow, we're not used to this. This is not a good feeling. What I carried on from the U-19s is that it doesn't matter how hard you prepare, what you're doing; you show up on that day, you take care of business."
Rodriguez remembered how fast the players and teams were.
"I was shocked as a 17-year-old playing against these great players," she said. "The speed of play was much quicker. I was still in high school at the time when I was brought in with the U-19s, so I learned to play a lot of faster and how to go against tough competition."
They also learned how fragile life and paradise can be. On Dec. 26, 2004, about month after the tournament final, a tsunami wreaked havoc in 15 countries. The Phuket hotel was destroyed. More than 230,000 people were killed, including almost 5,400 in Thailand.
"I felt very fortunate to be there when I did in such beauty and such an awesome experience, but it was sad to hear that it was destroyed by a giant tsunami," Rodriguez said.
Added Sauerbrunn "It just makes you put things into perspective a little bit about soccer. For us it's a passion, but it’s not an end-all, be-all of life. We were so sad about the people that we met, the hotel staff. We were still bummed about the tournament then it was kind of like well, there way worse things that can happen to us. We should be really fortunate for everything that we had."
Called into the U.S. team for the first time in January of 2008 and then earned a place on the roster for the Four Nations Tournament in China where she earned her first caps … Her first start and cap against Canada on Jan. 16, 2008, was also Pia Sundhage’s first match as head coach … Trained with the WNT in February of that year, but then traveled to Spain with the U.S. U-23s … Did not get another call-up to the senior team until after the 2010 WPS season and worked her way into the mix ... 2012: Saw the most action of her National Team career so far, playing 1,255 minutes over 22 games while making nine starts … Played both centerback and at outside back during the year … Made her first Olympic Team and played in three matches off the bench … Only played 38 total minutes, but was a sub in both the semifinal and the final to help seal those victories and the Olympic gold medal … Started and played every minute of three matches at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualiyfing tournament in Vancouver, Canada … 2011: Had her best year yet for the National Team, playing in 12 games while starting eight and made her first Women’s World Cup roster at the senior level … Played in just one match in Germany but had a stellar game while playing all 90 minutes during the semifinal victory against France, stepping up in a big way to replace the suspended Rachel Buehler … 2010: Played in five matches, starting three, and made the roster for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament, playing in one match … Was called into a training camp prior to the qualifying roster being named due to an injury to another player and ended up making the roster and solidifying her place in the national team pool … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-21s/U-23s in 2007 and 2008, winning Nordic Cup titles in both years … Co-captain of Nordic Cup champion U-23s in 2008 … Was a starter and co-captain for the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand, playing every minute of all six games … Completed her U-19 career with 25 caps … Member of U.S. U-16s and U-17s from 2000-02 … Attended the U.S. U-14 I.D. camp in 1999 … First Appearance: Jan. 16, 2008, vs. Canada … First Goal: None.
Full name is Rebecca Elizabeth Sauerbrunn … Majored in English literature and composition at Virginia … Was midway through getting her master’s in education from UVA when WPS started, so she put her studies on hold … Loves country music … Loves science fiction, and her favorite book is “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card … Will name her first cat “Ender” after her favorite character in the book … Favorite all-time TV show is “Lost” … Favorite movie is “The Shawshank Redemption” … Loves going to movies and enjoys writing … Favorite soccer team is Arsenal but also really likes watching Real Madrid and Bayern Munich … Likes Liverpool centerback Martin Skrtel for some irrational reason … Favorite color is grey … The youngest of three children, she has two older brothers … Surprisingly good at video games, especially racing and adventure ones, especially Zelda … Has a dry, dark sense of humor that still often catches her teammates off guard … Favorite number is 11, and during the past 15 years she has either worn 11 or 22, but at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2012 Olympics she wore the number 4 and has remained in that number ever since.Played at Virginia from 2003 to 2007 … Played every game and all but 10 minutes during her college career … She became the Cavaliers’ only three-time NSCAA All-American and was named First-Team NSCAA All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2007 … Part of defensive unit that led the nation in goals against average (0.40) and set a school record with 15 shutouts in 2007 … NSCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2007 … As a junior in 2006, she was an NSCAA Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC … Started all 22 games and played every minute of the season … Named to the ACC All-Academic Team in 2006 … As a sophomore in 2005, she was Second-Team All-ACC, started every game and played every minute of the season … Had one goal and two assists … Her 2,289 minutes played set a Virginia record for a season … Red-shirted what would have been her sophomore season in 2004 to play in the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup … As a freshman in 2003, she was an NSCAA First-Team All-American, Second-Team All-ACC and the ACC Freshman of the Year … Started all 21 games and played every minute of the season … High School: Attended Ladue High School where she was a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American and a two-time Parade All-American … She was the 2003 Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year … First-Team St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro as a senior … She had 21 goals and 19 assists during her senior year … Was also conference player of the year in volleyball and basketball … St. Louis Post-Dispatch Scholar-Athlete Award winner.