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