Somerset, N.J. - With the 2012 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) season just around the corner, Sky Blue FC announced that the club has agreed to terms with U.S. National Team defender Becky Sauerbrunn (pictured). The addition of Sauerbrunn provides a proven leader to the experienced back line of Sky Blue FC, which will kick off its fourth season of play this coming April.
“We are excited to add Becky Sauerbrunn, a solid and versatile defender who has truly shown her form in WPS and the U.S. National Team,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra, who made the Virginia product the third overall selection in the 2008 WPS General Draft when he was with the Washington Freedom. “I worked with Becky for quite a few years, and she will provide us with solid defensive play as we look to improve in that area. Additionally, she gives our team another great professional, both on and off the field.”
While playing college soccer at the University of Virginia, Sauerbrunn became the only three-time NSCAA All-American in program history, receiving NSCAA First Team All-America and ACC Defensive Player of the Year accolades following her senior year in 2007. Prior to the launch of WPS, the St. Louis native spent a year with Gabarra and the Washington Freedom in the USL W-League, and she then played the next two seasons with the club under the WPS banner before suiting up for magicJack in 2011. On the international front, Sauerbrunn has played at every level of the U.S. National Team, previously serving as captain for both the U-19 and U-23 sides. She made her debut for the full national team against Canada nearly four years ago at the Four Nations Tournament in China and has since become a mainstay on the squad, including her earning a spot on its FIFA World Cup roster this past summer.
Sky Blue FC has also added to its 2012 roster a WPS veteran, defender/forward Nikki Marshall. The former first round selection of the Washington Freedom is the all-time leading goal scorer at the University of Colorado, where she registered a total of 42 tallies during her college career.
“I am personally very gratified that Nikki Marshall has decided to sign with Sky Blue FC,” said head coach Jim Gabarra, who previously made the Colorado native the seventh overall pick in the 2010 WPS Draft. “She is a player who we have been trying hard to get signed this offseason, and I look forward to working with her again to continue the development of her game. She has the ability to be a big contributor in WPS and possibly to the national team in the near future.”
Marshall had the most decorated career in program history when she played for the University of Colorado, leaving the school as the owner of 17 school records. She burst onto the college scene in 2006, recording 17 goals and eventually being named the Soccer Buzz Freshman of the Year. The following season, she again led the Buffaloes by tallying nine scores, despite the fact that she was playing defender. She then moved back up top for her remaining two years at Colorado, registering eight more goals each season. Her standout college resume then made her a first round selection of the Washington Freedom, where she started all 24 matches of her rookie campaign at defender under Gabarra before the team was relocated to Florida as magicJack in 2011. After starting this past season with the Boca Raton club, she made 14 appearances with the Boston Breakers after it acquired her via a trade in June.
“Nikki brings a great deal of pace and athleticism to our back line,” assistant coach Emma Hayes remarked. “She is an experienced WPS player, and we expect her to be pushing to get on the U.S. National Team this season with strong performances at Sky Blue FC. We are delighted to have her on board.”
On the international landscape, Marshall has played for both the U-20 and U-23 sides of the U.S. National Team, capturing MVP honors in the final match of the 2008 U-20 FIFA World Cup that saw her team claim the Gold Medals.
Current Sky Blue FC Roster:
Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc; Canadian National Team
Defender Anita Asante; English National Team, Won 2009 WPS Championship with Sky Blue FC
Defender Candace Chapman; Canadian National Team, Two-Time WPS Champion
Defender/Forward Nikki Marshall; Third Year Pro, All-Time Leading Goal Scorer at University of Colorado
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn; U.S. National Team
Midfielder Carolyn Blank; New Jersey native, Started 17 games for Sky Blue FC in 2011
Midfielder Amanda DaCosta; Second Year Pro, Four-Time All ACC selection at Florida State
Forward Gemma Davison; English National Team, Won 2011 WPS Championship with WNY Flash
Forward Manos Melis; Dutch National Team All-Time Leading Goal Scorer