NWSL great Becky Sauerbrunn headed home after trade to Portland Thorns

U.S. national team defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who has earned Best XI honors in all seven NWSL seasons, was traded to the Portland Thorns from the Utah Royals.

The Royals get defender Elizabeth Ball and $100,000 in allocation money -- plus additional allocation money if future conditions are met -- in exchange for granting the 34-year-old Sauerbrunn's wish to conclude her NWSL career in Portland, where she lives with her boyfriend in the offseason.

"We appreciate Utah being amicable to this trade in helping fulfill the wishes of Becky and her desire to come to Portland,” said Gavin Wilkinson, the Thorns' general manager and president of soccer. “Becky will give us tremendous experience and leadership at the back. Her addition to a group of players with championship capabilities and aspirations is exciting on all levels."

Sauerbrunn, who grew up in St. Louis and began his NWSL career with FC Kansas City, which won NWSL titles in 2014 and 2015. She moved to Utah in 2018 after the FC Kansas City folded.

Sauerbrunn joins three other members of the U.S. national team -- goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, midfielder Lindsey Horan and forward Tobin Heath -- on the Thorns, who lost in the 2019 semifinals to the Chicago Red Stars.

“Becky possesses exceptional technical ability and tactical intelligence,” said Thorns coach Mark Parsons. “She is a true professional with a strong work ethic and has a team-first mentality in all areas that will elevate those around her.”

9 comments about "NWSL great Becky Sauerbrunn headed home after trade to Portland Thorns".
  1. E Velazquez, March 4, 2020 at 4:33 p.m.

    Unfortunately Ms.Sauerbrunn has not demostrated  her " exceptional technical ability"( as defined by her new coach) on  every game  she played for the USWNT. She has poor control of ball , can not play as a winger, and she is the player that has passed the ball back to the goalkeeper in every game more times  than any other member of the team. Mr Mark Parsons 
    when a player passes REPEATEDLY the ball back to the keeper instead  of advancing forward and opening spaces to construct a team attack , can not be called to have "exceptional technical ability". We hope she retires soon from the USWNT and we wish her succsess in her future life

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, March 4, 2020 at 5:45 p.m.

    I don't disagree with your assessment but want to add that Becky is expected to be the player who passes to the keeper the most because of her deeplying position on the field. And CBs are typically not as skilled as the CMs on the same team.

  3. Wilson Taguinod replied, March 4, 2020 at 7:09 p.m.

    Why ding her for being poor in a position she does not play?  Have you ever play as a wing?

  4. frank schoon replied, March 5, 2020 at 9:39 a.m.

    I don't get it. Her skills are lacking and therefore as a CB she tends to take the easy and safe route in passing back to the goalie,but she can also play on the wing ...that to me is a conundrum. Unless they place her on the wing for she can do less damage there ,but playing wing requires good skills, otherwise.

    Bob, it's true CBs are less skillful, but why should that be. That is why I harken back to the days of a Beckenbauer types coming up with the ball. I don't get it for today's coaches follow and copy what other coaches do. Imagine if a coach decides to throw an attacking CB into the mix it will effect and mess up the pattern of play of the opponents. All of a sudden it is not only the #6 but it could also be either the #3 or #4 going up;and then include the outside backs as former wingers.  But instead coaches  play the same ole' ,same ole' routine employing little to none creative thinking......

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, March 5, 2020 at 3:41 p.m.

    Frank, that is a purely rhetorical question. Ideally we have 23 great players on a team. The US WNT, in comparison to their competition, comes very close, but there is still a significant gap in effectiveness between the best and others.

    The rich European clubs come close too, but they still don't have 23 players of equal ability. Maybe 15 or 16.

    I think the posters here all know what needs to be done to improve development of US players, so I won't specify. 

  6. frank schoon replied, March 5, 2020 at 3:51 p.m.

    Bob, I wasn't sure what you implied or refer to about the USWNT coming very close in comparison to their competition when it comes to effectiveness between the best and others....

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, March 5, 2020 at 5:16 p.m.

    Frank, I meant that, compared to their opponents, the US WNT comes the closest to having "23 great players on a team."

  8. E Velazquez, March 5, 2020 at 7:17 a.m.

    Thank you Bob.  Regarding  Mr Taguinod  I'd just woulf like to remember him : all the left and right defenders of the big leagues have the ability to advance to the corners when the opportunity arrives and thus ,start the attack . This requires good ball control ,speed and dribling ability,Ms. Sauerbrunn lacks all of these.We hope she does not get a call  for the olympics , she is "old"  for football and it would be  laudable if she leaves the WNT for the development of a younger defensive player (and  Mr.Taguinod I played soccer since my infancy for 56 years, all possitions ) 

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, March 5, 2020 at 3:59 p.m.

    Becky is limited to CB, and that will hurt her chances to make the final 18 for the Olympics. In her favor is that she is one of 3 top picks for CB and that she is 100% fit. 

    I don't see her age as a limiting factor today, but age undoubtedly will be in the future.

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