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Becky Sauerbrunn reflective as U.S. women’s soccer team sets sights on World Cup

To hear Becky Sauerbrunn reference the “twilight” of her profession is a bit unsettling. It’s abundantly clear from watching the 32-year-old defender on the sector that she’s nonetheless at her peak.

But Sauerbrunn is considering a legacy as the U.S. nationwide team readies for World Cup qualifying this fall. If the defending champions make the sector for women’s soccer’s premier occasion in France subsequent yr, will probably be her third World Cup.

For Sauerbrunn, that legacy means utilizing her voice to impact change. It consists of her team’s public push for equitable pay — which culminated with a brand new contract final April with U.S. Soccer.

And extra just lately it consists of her effort to ship a team of underprivileged women to the Street Child World Cup in Moscow this summer time.

“I’ve been given a platform and I want to do good with it. I’ve been playing sort of in the twilight of my career and I’d really like to leave the game better than when I found it,” she stated.

Sauerbrunn spent the start of the yr recovering from a foot damage. She made her first appearances of the season in a two-game collection towards Mexico, coming in as a sub within the opening recreation, a Four-1 U.S. victory, then beginning the second, a 6-2 win on Sunday.

“The stress reaction I had in my foot is better. I’ve been getting MRIs and it’s healing, which is great,” she stated. “I really feel like I’m coming back healthy and now it’s about getting back into soccer form.”

A middle again, Sauerbrunn helped anchor the stellar backline that was key to the team’s title run on the 2015 World Cup in Canada. The distinction this time round is that the United States gained’t have goalkeeper

Hope Solo, who set data throughout her prolonged profession however left the team on dangerous phrases following the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The seek for the team’s new goalkeeper continues, with Jane Campbell of the Houston Dash getting the newest beginning nod in Sunday’s pleasant.

“We’re feeling really good,” Sauerbrunn stated concerning the team’s mentality. “It’s unlucky as a result of we have now fairly a couple of accidents, so we’re lacking 4 or 5 of our core gamers (together with Tobin Heath and Julie Ertz).

But what’s good about that’s that it supplies the chance for different gamers to point out what they’ve and achieve some worthwhile expertise.”

Coach Jill Ellis continues to experiment with the backline though the reliable Sauerbrunn is a lock as a starter if she’s wholesome. Crystal Dunn began as a fullback in Sunday’s recreation however moved as much as an attacking place and Ellis indicated she appreciated versatility.

“I think overall what we’re looking for — these players obviously have to do the job defensively, but it’s also looking at what they can bring to our attack,” Ellis stated.

For now Sauerbrunn is busy serving to the Utah Royals open their first National Women’s Soccer League season. Sauerbrunn, a three-time NWSL Defender of the Year, performed for FC Kansas City because the league’s inception in 2013 — however that team folded earlier this yr and the gamers collectively went to the Royals.

The Royals shall be on the lookout for their first win of the season Saturday once they host the Chicago Red Stars.

She’s additionally lending her voice to elevating funds for the Street Child World Cup team. The occasion in Moscow previous to the lads’s World Cup this summer time seeks to attract consideration to the plight of homeless and orphaned youngsters throughout the globe.

Sauerbrunn brought about a stir just lately on social media when she posted a photograph of a child soccer jersey and shorts, alongside together with her cat. The tweet despatched shockwaves via soccer fandom with hypothesis that she was pregnant.

“I’m like internally cringing just thinking about that. That was a prank gone awry. Do not use Twitter as a format for pranks,” she stated. “I was cleaning out my apartment and saw this little Nike uniform and I thought, ‘Wow, it would be so funny to pull a prank.’ Such a backfire. Mia Hamm texted me and said, ‘Congratulations,’ and I thought, ‘I’m a terrible, terrible person, I just tricked Mia Hamm.’ Never again.”

For the document, she’s not pregnant. She’s acquired some issues she’d like to perform on and off the sector first.


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