January 9, 2016
Lloyd, Sauerbrunn named USWNT captains
CHICAGO - Midfielder Carli Lloyd and defender Becky Sauerbrunn, two of the top performers at the 2015 Women's World Cup, have been named by U.S. head coach Jill Ellis as the new captains of the U.S. women's national team, it was announced Saturday.
|Becky Sauerbrunn was named captain of the U.S. women's national team along with Carli Lloyd.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The duo became the 13th and 14th players officially named captain of the U.S. WNT over the program's 31 years, although many others have worn the captain's band during a match. When Lloyd and Sauerbrunn are on the field at the same time, Lloyd will wear the armband.
They take over from Christie Rampone, who is sidelined for 4-6 weeks after undergoing minor knee surgery before Christmas, and Abby Wambach, who has retired. Rampone, who has 311 caps, has been team captain for seven years since being named by Pia Sundhage in January 2008.
"Christie and Abby have been phenomenal leaders for this team for a long time, and we are forever grateful for their far-reaching contributions," Ellis said in a press release. "As we move into the next phase of this program, I've selected two captains who I know will represent us extremely well on and off the field and will help facilitate the positive direction of this team. They are two extremely professional players in both game and training environments and they embody the DNA of this program."
Lloyd has 211 caps, the eighth most in U.S. history, and was far and away the leader in goals scored for the USA in 2015 with 18. Without Rampone or Wambach on the field, she captained the USA in four matches at the Women's World Cup, including the championship game.
"I never thought I would be captaining the national team, but I'm humbled and it's an amazing honor," Lloyd said. "At this stage in my career, I'm ready to take on this type of leadership role but I also know that this team features a lot of great leaders and we all lead in our own way. We have high goals and standards and it's the job of the veterans to make sure everyone is meeting those standards, which on this team of highly motivated women is an exciting prospect."
Sauerbrunn, 30, has 96 caps and during Olympic qualifying in February, could become the 35th U.S. female player to reach 100. She co-captained FC Kansas City to the past two National Women's Soccer League titles and won the NWSL defender of the year award in all three years of the league's existence.
"It's a true honor to be named a captain of this team," she said. "I look at this group and what it's accomplished and the hunger we still have for the things not yet accomplished and I'm constantly amazed. It's a privilege to help keep that motivation strong and moving in the direction we want it to go."
Lloyd, 33, was the Golden Ball winner as the top player at the 2015 Women's World Cup and the Silver Boot winner as second leading scorer in the tournament. She also became the first female player to record a hat-trick in a World Cup final, scoring the three goals in a 16-minute span.
Her legendary strike from midfield that capped the hat-trick was voted goal of the tournament and was up for FIFA goal of the year. She was voted the 2015 U.S. Soccer female player of the year and is a finalist for the FIFA Women's world player of the year.
Sauerbrunn was the USA's rock in the back at the World Cup and has been since she started getting consistent playing time in 2011. She became a starter in 2013 and her performance in Canada, where she played every minute of all seven matches, solidified her standing as one of the best center backs in the world.