This afternoon, the Women’s World Cup begins in France. There isn’t much soccer in the summer, so the eyes of the soccer world will be on this event. For Wahoo fans, there’s a particular interest, as three former Virginia players — Becky Sauerbrunn, Morgan Brian and Emily Sonnett — are on the USA roster.
That trio really runs the gamut of experience and in areas of operation. Sauerbrunn is one of the mainstays of Team USA at center back. She’s playing in her third world cup and has also played in two Olympics with Team USA. At age 34, she’s one of the older players in the entire tournament. She has 158 international caps and has served as captain at times.
Brian is entering her second World Cup, after being the youngest player on the roster in 2015. She is a midfielder and has already racked up 82 caps and six goals, despite being just 26 years old. For the Hoos, Brian won back-to-back Hermann Trophies (the women’s soccer equivalent of the Heisman) and led the team to the 2013 College Cup.
Sonnett is the newcomer of the group, with just 33 career international caps. She plays fullback as well as midfield, though she’s most likely to be used at right back.
Sauerbrunn is one of the best center backs ever to play the women’s game. She’s going to start for the USA as long as they’re around. Last week, she shared this video with The Player’s Tribune:
The coach she’s talking about is Steve Swanson, the head coach of Virginia Women’s Soccer. Swanson has also served as an assistant coach for the US Women’s National Team.
And here’s a capsule that the USWNT posted about Becky:
Being a professional athlete can be incredibly taxing, so @beckysauerbrunn finds a moment’s peace the best way she knows how, by diving deep into a book and letting her creative mind run wild.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) June 6, 2019
23 Stories x @VW pic.twitter.com/mg22Gkj8GQ
Brian is one of the most talented players on the team, though due to her position she doesn’t have the star power of some of the other players. Brian mostly plays as a holding midfielder, bridging the gap between the defense and the offense. She scored 41 goals in her UVA career, but isn’t asked to be a scorer for Team USA.
However, she has been dealing with various injuries over the past few years. She’s suffered at least one major injury every year since the last World Cup. Most recently, she suffered a head injury in last year’s CONCACAF Women’s Championship. She was a bit of a surprise addition to the roster, considering she hasn’t played in any of the tune-up games. She’ll probably remain on the bench for early games, but may be used as the tournament and the competition gets fierce.
Here is Morgan’s WNT capsule.
Four years ago, @moeebrian lived the ultimate dream. This time, getting here wasn't easy, but with good people by her side, one of them being her husband, she is on a mission to chase another World Cup title.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) June 4, 2019
23 Stories x @VW pic.twitter.com/eqIOJuhLBH
A year ago, Sonnett was starting for the National Team due to injuries in the back four. However, with the team close to full strength heading into the World Cup, she probably won’t be starting. Her ability to play both defense and midfield make her an ideal substitute in a game the US is leading. She came on as a substitute in almost all of the tune-up games the USWNT has played leading into this tournament.
Here is Emily’s capsule:
The Women’s World Cup begins Friday at 3:00 PM ET with France vs. Korea. If you want to catch Sauerbrunn, Brian, and Sonnett in action, check out the schedule for the first three games:
- USA vs. Thailand, Tuesday, June 11 - 3 PM ET
- USA vs. Chile, Sunday, June 16 - 12 PM ET
- USA vs. Sweden, Thursday, June 20 - 3 PM ET
Stay tuned to Streaking the Lawn for Women’s World Cup updates as they are available!