Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn has been named the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League Defender of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. Last week, Sauerbrunn was also named to the NWSL’s 2019 Best XI.
The 34-year old adds a fourth Defender of the Year award to her professional career after holding the title from 2013-2015 with FC Kansas City. The defender title was voted on by the club officials, players, media, and fans.
Sauerbrunn appeared in 14 games for Utah Royals FC this season. She anchored a Royals FC back line that conceded only 25 goals and ranked tied for first in the league with 10 clean sheets. The Royals FC defender made 76 clearances and finished with seven blocks. The captain also made 21 interceptions, had a 71.2% duels success rate, and a 64.7% successful tackle rate. She ranked first in the league with a passing accuracy of 87.6% and earned Goal of the Week honors for her game-winning goal off a header in Utah’s 1-0 win over Portland Thorns FC on September 6.
Sauerbrunn is ranked ninth all-time in the NWSL in minutes played (10,855) and is tied for 14th all-time in career games played (122).
Chicago Red Stars defender Casey Short, Reign FC defender Lauren Barnes, and North Carolina Courage defenders Abby Erceg and Jaelene Hinkle finished in second, third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, in defender voting this year.
The list of finalists was decided after a preliminary round of voting by owners, general managers, coaches, players and media. The finalists were then voted on by fans, owners, general managers, coaches, players and media.
|DEFENDER||TOTAL OF FIRST PLACE VOTES|
Preliminary Round: Owners/GMs/Coaches (25%), Media (25%) and Players (50%)
Final Round: Fans (20%), Owners/GMs/Coaches (20%), Media (20%) and Players (40%)
Full List of NWSL Defenders of the Year
2013: Becky Sauerbrunn, FC Kansas City
2014: Becky Sauerbrunn, FC Kansas City
2015: Becky Sauerbrunn, FC Kansas City
2016: Lauren Barnes, Seattle Reign FC
2017: Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina Courage
2018: Abby Erceg, North Carolina Courage
2019: Becky Sauerbrunn, Utah Royals FC