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Becky Sauerbrunn

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Rodriguez, Sauerbrunn Reflect on 2004 Trip to Thailand

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."

Amy Rodriguez and Becky Sauerbrunn

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."

Nikki Krzysik, Becky Sauerbrunn and Amy Rodriguez

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."

Amy Rodriguez, Jen Redmond and Becky Sauerbrunn

Studio 90: New Era Begins as U.S. WNT Comes Together in Tampa

New U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis is running her first camp after officially taking over in mid-May and a smooth transition is being bolstered by excitement for a big year ahead.

Ellis Names 26 Players for Pair of June Matches against France

CHICAGO (June 2, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 26 players to the training camp roster in preparation for two games against France – currently ranked fourth in the world by FIFA – on June 14 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and June 19 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Both games kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ussoccer.com.

“Two matches against such a high-level team will give us a picture of where we are,” said Ellis, who was named the eighth head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history on May 16. “Establishing how we want to play and integrating our philosophy is an important first step for a new coaching staff, but these types of matches will give us a wonderful opportunity to build on and keep testing out the player pool.”

Several players return to the roster after extended absences ranging from two months in the case of Kristie Mewis, who has recovered from an ankle injury, to much longer in the case of forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Shannon Boxx.

Boxx, who has 186 caps and 27 goals, is coming in for training and evaluation only and will not play in the matches as she mounts her comeback after having a daughter in late February. A three-time Olympic gold medalist, Boxx makes her return to the roster for the first time since March of 2013 at the Algarve Cup.

The availability of Morgan for the matches will be determined pending an evaluation by the team’s medical and performance staff of her progression toward international play. Morgan, who is at the tail end of her recovery from an ankle injury, has 44 goals in 70 matches, but has not appeared for the USA since November of 2013.

The roster features 25 players currently signed with National Women’s Soccer League clubs as Christen Press, Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg have returned to the league after helping Tyresö of Sweden to the brink of the UEFA Women’s Champions League title. Tobin Heath’s French league season came to a close on June 1, but her club will play in the French Cup Final on June 7 against Olympique Lyon. Forward Sarah Hagen will complete her highly successful run with Bayern Munich on June 8 and then return to make her NWSL debut for FC Kansas City. The only non-professional on the roster is rising college senior Morgan Brian from Virginia.

Additional Notes:

  • Jill Ellis will name 18 players from the 26-woman roster to suit up for each match.
  • Portland Thorns FC midfielder Allie Long gets her second WNT call-up after earning her first cap against Canada on May 8 in Winnipeg.
  • The U.S. Women’s National Team has launched its own Instagram account. Fans can now follow the U.S. Women’s National Teams at http://instagram.com/ussoccer_wnt.
  • The USA is 6-2-2 in 2014.
  • Two regulars are still injured and unavailable for selection in midfielder Megan Rapinoe (foot) and defender Rachel Van Hollebeke (ankle).
  • U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo has 70 shutouts, one away from tying Briana Scurry for first on the USA’s all-time shutout list.
  • Amy Rodriguez comes into the camp tied for the NWSL lead in goals with eight in 10 games.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3):
Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7):
Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (9):
Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Kristie Mewis (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers)
FORWARDS (7):
Sarah Hagen (FC Kansas City), Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)

Ellis Names WNT Roster for May 8 Match vs. Canada

CHICAGO (April 30, 2014) – U.S. interim head coach Jill Ellis has named 22 players to the U.S. Women’s National Team roster that will travel to Winnipeg, Canada, for the May 8 match at Investors Group Field. The game will be shown live on ESPN3 and espnW.com at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local).

Investors Group Field, which opened in 2013, is located on the University of Manitoba campus and is home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. The stadium features an artificial field and has a capacity of just over 33,000. It is one of six venues that will be used for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“With World Cup qualifying in less than six months, each game against a quality opponent is significant for this group, but no question  playing Canada in Canada stirs the emotions and gives it greater meaning,” said Ellis. “We have been scouting the NWSL games, and we have some injuries, so I think the roster is indicative of some of the top performers playing in the league at the moment. I am looking forward to getting the group to Winnipeg and having a few days of prep before the match.” 

The roster includes 18 players currently in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in addition to all three Americans – Christen Press, Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg – who helped Tyresö of Sweden advance to the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final with a 3-0 victory this past weekend against Birmingham of England in the second leg of the semifinal series. The trio will join their NWSL clubs following the Champions League Final against holders Wolfsburg of Germany on May 22 in Lisbon, Portugal.

The U.S. roster includes three players from Seattle Reign FC, which currently sits atop the NWSL standings, as well as three players from FC Kansas City, the Washington Spirit and Sky Blue FC. There are 21 professionals on the roster plus rising college senior Morgan Brian, the 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy winner at Virginia who is up to 10 caps in her young international career.

Two players return to a U.S. roster after extended absences in goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, as well as former Under-20 and Under-23 international Allie Long, who is off to a fine start with Portland Thorns FC. Long, who is tied for second in the league in scoring with three goals, came into one event under Pia Sundhage in 2010, but did not earn a cap.

In addition, Ellis has given a first senior team call-up to Portland Thorns FC defender Nikki Marshall, a former Under-20 and Under-23 international who was a member of the USA’s 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup championship team along with two other players on the roster, Meghan Klingenberg and Sydney Leroux.

Additional Notes:

  • Ellis will name 18 players from the 22-woman roster to suit up for the match.
  • The U.S. Women’s National Team has launched its own Instagram account. Fans can now follow the U.S. Women’s National Teams exclusively at http://instagram.com/ussoccer_wnt.
  • The U.S. WNT opened its 2014 campaign with a 1-0 win against Canada on Jan. 31 in front of 20,862 fans at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Sydney Leroux scored the game’s only goal and the USA improved to 47-3-5 all-time against Canada.
  • The U.S. and Canada have faced each other once before in Winnipeg, but that was almost 24 years ago, with the USA posting a 4-1 victory on July 27, 1990.
  • The match in Winnipeg will mark the fifth between the two teams in Canada. The most recent match between the neighbors on Canadian soil came on June 2, 2013, a 3-0 U.S. victory at BMO Field in Toronto.
  • Several injured players were unavailable for this match, including forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Kristie Mewis, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and defender Rachel Van Hollebeke.
  • Defender Crystal Dunn returns to the roster and will be looking to see her first international action of the year after being sidelined with an ankle injury.
  • U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo comes into the match having allowed just one goal in three NWSL matches to date, tied for best in the league. With 70 shutouts, Solo is one away from tying Briana Scurry for first on the USA’s all-time shutout list.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9): Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Tyresö), Meghan Klingenberg (Tyresö), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Nikki Marshall (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers)
FORWARDS (4): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Christen Press (Tyresö), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)

WNT vs. China PR: Field Level Highlights - April 10, 2014

Carli Lloyd became the ninth U.S. Women’s National Team player to reach the 50-goal milestone, scoring twice as the USA defeated China PR 3-0 in front of 12,857 fans at Qualcomm Stadium.

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.

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.

2012: Allocated to FC Kansas City for the inaugural NWSL season … The only player to play every minute of the first two WPS regular seasons, a streak that was only broken when she left to play for the USA at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany … She played every minute of every match she played in her WPS career … Signed with Sky Blue FC as a free agent for the 2012 season before the league folded … 2011: Signed with magicJack and played in 13 regular season games, tied for most WPS matches played by a U.S. WNT player, while playing all 1,170 minutes (most by a WNT player) … Also played all 180 minutes over magicJack’s two playoff games … 2010: She started all 24 matches for the Washington Freedom and picked one up assist … Played all 120 minutes in playoff match against Philadelphia … 2009: Selected by the Washington Freedom as the third overall pick in the 2008 WPS General Draft ahead of the inaugural season … She started all 20 games and scored one goal, a spectacular header for the Freedom’s first WPS goal … Immediately after the 2009 WPS season, she played three months in Norway for Røa IL, a club right outside of Oslo … Her team finished first in the league and won the Norwegian Cup … She also played two rounds of UEFA Champions League, defeating Everton of England and FK Zvezda of Russia in two-leg series’ to get to the final eight … 2008: Played for the Freedom in W-League during 2008 … Played for the Richmond Kickers in the W-League in 2006-07 and the Boston Renegades in 2005 … Youth: Played youth club for J.B. Marine and helped lead her teams to four state cup titles and a 2000 regional championship.

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.
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