U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 26 players to the roster for the year’s first training camp in Carson, California. Among the elite group named is Utah Royals FC duo Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelley O’Hara, who aren’t new to representing the red, white and blue. Both Sauerbrunn – who captains team USA, and O’Hara, have been involved in the national team scene for over a decade. The camp will take place on January sixth at the U.S. Soccer Training Center, and will run until January 21.
The new Utah Royals FC commits have also had their share of success on the pitch. Both hold gold medals from both the FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2012 Olympic games paired with numerous caps. Sauerbrunn, an All-American graduate from the University of Virginia, has two CONCACAF championships, has qualified for the Olympics twice, and has two NWSL titles on her resume.
O’Hara, a veteran and leader on team USA, holds similar accolades — donning a FIFA world cup medal, Olympic championships, and three Algarve Cup wins. Last year O’Hara found 13 USWNT caps, playing nearly 1,000 minutes for the team. Her work on the back line contributed to six clean sheets in 2017. On a club level, O'Hara has played over 5,500 minutes in the NWSL alone, playing key role on her previous club, Sky Blue FC.
This powerful duo brings physicality and speed to the USWNT back line to supplement a potent attacking force. O’Hara excels at predicting forward movement, pushing opponents away from goal, and using the numbers in her own half to clog up space in the middle of the pitch. Much like O’Hara, Sauerbrunn serves as the key centerback, always maintaining the team’s shape and directing the field in front of her. Without a doubt these same skills will play a crucial role for Utah Royals FC in their maiden season.
The squad will spend the month preparing for the SheBelieves Cup in March, an elite tournament which welcomes four of the world’s top-six ranked teams, —USA (1), Germany (2), England (3), and France (6).
The camp, which runs through the majority of January, will also roster NWSL stars like Carli Lloyd of the Houston Dash, and Alex Morgan of the Orlando Pride. Twenty-one of the of the 26 members are currently playing in the NWSL, demonstrating the immense strength of a growing league. Concluding the 15-day camp, the team will play against Denmark on January 21 in San Diego.