Portland Thorns FC has acquired United States women’s national team defender Becky Sauerbrunn from Utah Royals FC in exchange for defender Elizabeth Ball and $100,000 in allocation money. Royals FC will receive additional allocation money, if future conditions are met.
Sauerbrunn, 34, leaves Utah after captaining the side for the past two seasons. The veteran defender began her career in the NWSL with FC Kansas City (2013-2017) and has made 122 league appearances (121 starts), logged 10,900 minutes and has also contributed four goals and three assists. In the 2019 season, Sauerbrunn was named the NWSL’s Defender of the Year, which she has won four times, including winning the award in three consecutive seasons (2013-2015). The defender has also been a member of the NWSL Best XI for all of her previous seven seasons in the league.
During her time in the NWSL, Sauerbrunn has also won two NWSL Championships in 2014 and 2015 with Kansas City and will aim to help Portland return to the postseason for the fifth straight year.
On the international stage, Sauerbrunn has featured 174 times, has won two FIFA Women’s World Cups (2015, 2019) and an Olympic gold medal (2012). She has played for the USWNT in three World Cups (2011, 2015, 2019) and two Summer Olympics (2012, 2016).
Ball, 24, joins Utah after signing with Portland ahead of the 2018 season. During her time with Thorns FC, the defender made 21 appearances (13 starts) and logged 1,189 minutes.
During the first season that allows teams to trade allocation money, Utah became the first team to use the new trade mechanism, sending $60,000 to Chicago Red Stars in exchange for the eighth overall pick in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League Draft. Today’s trade marks the first time that allocation money has been used in exchange for a player.