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U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

January 9, 2016
NEW LEADERS
U.S. Women's National Team changes captains


Midfielder Carli Lloyd and defender Becky Sauerbrunn have been named by coach Jill Ellis as captains of the U.S. Women's National Team.

The duo becomes the 13th and 14th players officially named captain of the U.S. WNT over 31 years of the program, although others have worn the captain's armband during a match. When Lloyd and Sauerbrunn are on the field at the same time, Lloyd will wear the armband.

They take over from Christie Rampone, who is sidelined for 4-6 weeks after undergoing minor knee surgery before Christmas, and Abby Wambach, who has retired. Rampone, who has 311 caps, has been captain for seven years since being named by Pia Sundhage in January of 2008.

"Christie and Abby have been phenomenal leaders for this team for a long time, and we are forever grateful for their far-reaching contributions," Ellis said. "As we move into the next phase of this program, I've selected two captains who I know will represent us extremely well on and off the field and will help facilitate the positive direction of this team. They are two extremely professional players in both game and training environments and they embody the DNA of this program."

Lloyd has 211 caps, eighth most in U.S. history, and led the team in goals with 18 last year. Without Rampone or Wambach on the field, she captained the team in four matches at the Women's World Cup, including the championship game.

"I never thought I would be captaining the National Team, but I'm humbled and it's an amazing honor," Lloyd said. "At this stage in my career, I'm ready to take on this type of leadership role but I also know that this team features a lot of great leaders and we all lead in our own way. We have high goals and standards and it's the job of the veterans to make sure everyone is meeting those standards, which on this team of highly motivated women is an exciting prospect."

Sauerbrunn, 30, has totaled 96 caps and during Olympic qualifying in February, could become the 35th U.S. female player to hit 100. She co-captained FC Kansas City to the last two NWSL titles and won the NWSL Defender of the Year award in all three years of the league's existence.

"It's a true honor to be named a captain of this team," Sauerbrunn said. "I look at this group and what it's accomplished and the hunger we still have for the things not yet accomplished and I'm constantly amazed. It's a privilege to help keep that motivation strong and moving in the direction we want it to go."

Lloyd, 33, was the Golden Ball winner as the top player at the 2015 Women's World Cup and the Silver Boot winner as second leading scorer in the tournament She also became the first female to score a hat trick in a World Cup Final, getting all three goals in a 16-minute span of a 5-2 win over Japan. Her strike from midfield that capped her hat trick was voted Goal of the Tournament and was up for FIFA Goal of the Year. She was voted the 2015 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the year and is a finalist for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year.

Sauerbrunn solidified the back line since 2011. She became a full-time starter in 2013 and her performance in Canada, where she played every minute of all seven matches, confirmed her standing as one of the best center backs in the world.

   
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