Virginia soccer places three on USWNT Olympic qualifying roster
Morgan Brian, Becky Sauerbrunn and Emily Sonnett, three former Virginia women’s soccer players, begin practice Tuesday (Feb. 2) for the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship after being named to the squad by U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) head coach Jill Ellis.
The USA is set to begin Olympic Qualifying group play against Costa Rica on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The event runs from Feb. 10-21 in Frisco and Houston, Texas.
“This was an exceptionally challenging roster to select,” said USWNT head coach Jill Ellis. “The players all worked and competed very hard in the January Camp and that made the final decisions extremely difficult.”
Brian was a two-time winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy as national player of the year at Virginia, as well as a three-time All-America selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). She was named the national Freshman of the Year by Soccer America in 2011 and was the national Player of the Year in 2013 by Soccer America and TopDrawerSoccer. She was the top pick of the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) draft by the Houston Dash.
Sauerbrunn was recently named a co-captain for the USWNT by Ellis and is closing in on 100 caps with the team. A three-time NSCAA All-America selection, she was named the 2007 ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Virginia. She has been named the NWSL Defender of the Year for three consecutive seasons with FC Kansas City and is the only NWSL player to win the award in the three years of the league’s history.
Sonnett completed her career with the Cavaliers this past fall and was the top overall pick of the 2016 NWSL draft by the Portland Thorns FC. Sonnett was named the 2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and ESPNW Player of the Year. She was also named a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy. A two-time NSCAA All-America selection, Sonnett was also named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player at the 2014 College Cup as she helped the Cavaliers reach the finals.
The roster consists of three goalkeepers, seven defenders, five midfielders and five forwards, although many of the selected players can play multiple positions.
The team includes 13 members of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship team and seven Olympic qualifying veterans, three of whom (Hope Solo, Tobin Heath and Carli Lloyd) took part in qualifying for the 2008 Olympics.