The USWNT captain and veteran defender is staying in Portland
2022 Becky Sauerbrunn

Portland Thorns FC have signed defender Becky Sauerbrunn to a contract for the 2023 NWSL season, it was announced today.

“Our team is a special team and Becky is big part of that – her leadership, her experience, and how she’s respected by her teammates are all key ingredients to what makes her a critical piece of our success,” said Karina LeBlanc, Thorns FC general manager. “Becky had the option to pursue free agency and we are grateful she made a commitment to this club. We wanted to make sure that we continued this relationship and I believe we both win in the end by having Becky back with our club in 2023.”

The 2023 season will mark Sauerbrunn’s fourth campaign with Thorns FC. Portland acquired Sauerbrunn in a trade with Utah Royals FC ahead of the 2020 season. Across all competitions with the club, Sauerbrunn has appeared in 43 matches (40 starts), tallying one goal and one assist, while helping lead the team to the 2020 NWSL Community Shield, 2021 Challenge Cup, 2021 Women’s International Champions Cup and the 2021 NWSL Shield. During the 2022 season, Sauerbrunn has played in 16 games (15 starts), logging 1,234 minutes, while recording her first goal and first assist with the club on June 19 against the Orlando Pride. She also appeared in her 150th career NWSL game on Aug. 27 becoming the 15th player in league history at the time to reach that milestone.

The U.S. Women’s National Team captain has made 208 international appearances, including three Olympic games (2012, 2016, 2020) and two World Cups (2015, 2019). In July 2022, she helped lead the USWNT to the Concacaf W Championship and a berth in 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Notably on Feb. 18, 2022, Sauerbrunn earned her 200th cap becoming just the 12th player to hit this mark for the USWNT.

“Becky has been fantastic for us this year, she has been one of the top center backs in the league. She not only controls the tempo of the game, but also helps support and direct her teammates through games, something which has helped in the development and confidence of our young players,” said Thorns FC head coach Rhian Wilkinson. “Off the field a lot has been said about her and her leadership, and that continues, she is a joy to have with the group and to work with as a coach, who wouldn’t want a Becky Sauerbrunn?!”

The 2023 season will mark Sauerbrunn’s 11th in the NWSL. She began her career with FC Kansas City, playing with the club from 2013-17. She helped guide Kansas City to consecutive NWSL Championships in 2014 and 2015 before playing two seasons with Utah Royals FC (2018-19). A four-time NWSL Defender of the Year and seven-time NWSL Best XI selection, she has appeared in 154 matches (151 starts), tallying five goals and four assists during her career in the league.