- Rebecca Elizabeth Sauerbrunn majored in English literature and composition at Virginia.
- Her favorite book genre is fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy, and her favorite series is “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman.
- Her favorite all-time TV show is “Friday Night Lights,” but also enjoys “Game of Thrones,” “The Wire,” “True Detective,” “Fargo,” “Stranger Things.” “Westworld,” “Peaky Blinders” and pretty much anything created by HBO or Netflix.
- Has begun listening to podcasts and enjoys “Men in Blazers,” “The Black Tapes,” “No Sleep,” “Myths and Legends” and “Lore.”
- Favorite soccer team is Arsenal but also really likes watching Real Madrid.
- Likes center back Martin Skrtel because they are complete opposites in how they play. Really loves how Leonardo Bonucci plays for Juventus and Italy.
- Good at video games, especially racing and adventure ones, like Zelda. Has found herself playing every version of Tomb Raider and loves playing with a strong female character.
- Has a dry, dark sense of humor that still often catches her teammates off guard.
- Favorite number is 11, and for years she either wore 11 or 22, but at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2012 Olympics she wore the number 4 and has kept that number ever since as it’s traditionally a center-back number. It’s also the number worn by former U.S. captain Carla Overbeck, who is a player she really admires.
Becky Sauerbrunn describes herself as her two older brothers’ guinea pig. They’d duct-tape plywood to her arms and take slap shocks at her; they’d see how far they could launch her off the couch; they’d roll her into a blanket like a burrito; they’d steal her stuffed animals and beat them up while she tried to rescue them. “Aside from physically toughening me up, they also toughened me up mentally,” she said. “I learned how to take it. It taught me how to not really rely on other people to solve my problems. I think that kind of stayed with me. I’m very motivated internally. I’m a bit of a scrapper.”
This tolerance for pain came in handy during her first National Team cap against Canada, “I was so nervous, I didn’t think I was going to start, but there was an injury so I was thrown into the starting lineup.” In the second half, Sauerbrunn went up for a ball. A Canada player tried to flick the ball but instead caught Sauerbrunn full in the face with her head. "I went to feel my face and my nose was not where it was supposed to be. But I was like, okay, well, I can keep playing,” Sauerbrunn said. A nearby teammate caught sight of her and told her to get off the field. She headed to the sideline, holding her nose with her shirt. The team doctor reset it right there in the locker room. Becky played in the next game with a “MacGyver-like mask” made out of random materials they happened to have on hand in the training room. A contraption with the same industrious, ramshackle style as the plywood-hockey ensembles her brother would put her in as a kid.
Her two brothers also helped their little sister learn how to read. “I had trouble when I first started learning how to read and my brothers would read to me and then help me try to figure out the words.” These days Sauerbrunn is a voracious reader who brings three or four books on every National Team trip. “Reading is such an escape, so nice to just get away. Plus, I want to continue learning. Soccer will only last for so long and I’d still like my brain to function, so it’s good to keep exercising it.”
First Appearance: Jan. 16, 2008, vs. Canada. First Goal: None.
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 two caps. Did not get another call-up to the senior team until after the 2010 WPS season and worked her way into the mix, becoming an important player and consistent presence in the back for the National Team.
2017: In her fourth consecutive year as a consistent starter, she was one of two players to start all 16 matches and led the team in minutes played with 1,350. Named to the CONCACAF Best XI for the third consecutive year.
2016: Played in more than 20 matches for the third consecutive year and fourth time in her career. Started all 23 matches she played in and led the team in minutes played with 1,897. Became the fifth most-capped player in U.S. history who has played exclusively in the back. Played every minute of four matches at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship and earned a spot on her second Olympic Team. At the Olympics, she played every minute of all four matches. Became the 35th U.S. WNT player to earn 100 caps for the USA.
2015: A member of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champions, she had a spectacular tournament in her second World Cup marshaling the defense while playing every minute of all seven games. She was the only player to start 25 matches for the U.S. this year and led the team in minutes played with 2,184, both career highs. Named to the CONCACAF Best XI.
2014: Played in 22 games, logging career-highs to date in minutes played (1,757) and games started (20). Member of the team that won the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship as she played every minute of three matches to help the USA book its ticket to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
2013: Was a consistent starter at center-back, getting the nod in 10 of the 12 games she played. Played 940 minutes, third most on the team.
2012: Saw the most action of her National Team career to date, playing 1,255 minutes over 22 games while making nine starts. Played both center back and at outside back during the year. Made her first Olympic Team and played in three matches off the bench.
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 vs. France, stepping up to replace the suspended Rachel Bueller.
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: 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.
In 2018, her rights were assigned to the Utah Royals FC, her newest club in the NWSL when FC Kansas City ceased operations and she officially signed with the club on Dec. 21, 2017.
2017: Once again did not come out of a match, playing 1,980 minutes in 22 games for FC Kansas City. Also had her top scoring year as a professional, getting a goal (her third in the NWSL) and two assists. Was named to the NWSL Best XI for the fifth consecutive year, the only player ever to earn that distinction.
2016: Played every minute (1,260) of all 14 matches she played for FC Kansas City. Named to the NWSL Best XI for the fourth consecutive season, the only player to earn that distinction.
2015: Captained FCKC to its second consecutive NWSL title, defeating the Seattle Reign, 1-0. Named the NWSL Defender of the Year and became the first player in history to be honored with a league award in three consecutive seasons after also claiming Defender of the Year honors in 2013 and 2014. Won the award despite playing in just 11 matches due to WWC commitments, but played every minute of those games (990 minutes), including five of the Blues' league-high nine shutouts. Also named to the NWSL Best XI.
2014: Named the NWSL Defender of the Year to become the first repeat winner of an NWSL season-end award after also claiming the honor in 2013. Helped FC Kansas City win its first NWSL title after the team defeated Seattle 2-1 in the NWSL Championship Game. Named to the NWSL Best XI First-Team. Played every minute of 22 starts for FCKC during the regular season.
2013: Had an excellent season with FC Kansas City, playing every minute of all 19 games she started in helping her club to a second place finish and a playoff berth. Was named the 2013 NWSL Defender of the Year and to the NWSL Best XI.
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.
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).
2010: She started all 24 matches for the Washington Freedom and picked one up assist.
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. 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.
Youth club: Played youth club for J.B. Marine and helped lead her teams to four state cup titles and a 2000 regional championship.
College: Played at Virginia from 2003-2007. 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.