CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Five members of the United State Womens National Team have ties to Virginia. Former University of Virginia standouts Becky Sauerbrunn, Morgan Brian, Alexandria native Ali Krieger, along with UVA Head Coach Steve Swanson, and former William and Mary player Jill Ellis all played key roles in the USWNT’s triumph in the 2015 World Cup.
Both Sauerbrunn and Brian started in the World Cup Final and played a full 90 minutes against Japan. Sauerbrunn, a 2007 graduate of UVA, played a significant starting role in central defense for the USWNT that allowed just one goal prior to Sunday night’s final. At 22 years old, Brian is the youngest member of the USWNT. She graduated from UVA in 2014 and is a two-time winner of the Hermann Trophy, given to the top male and female collegiate soccer player.
Many consider Brian’s insertion into the starting lineup the turning point for the USWNT. Lauren Holiday’s yellow card against Colombia gave Brian the opportunity to start in central midfield against China, and she remained a starter for the remainder of the tournament.
Morgan also contributed an assist in the World Cup Final against Japan.
Krieger is a fullback for the USWNT and played a major role in the team’s defensive efforts throughout the tournament. She started every game of the 2015 World Cup and also played every minute in the 2011 World Cup.
USWNT Assistant Coach Steve Swanson coached both Sauerbrunn and Brian as the current head coach at UVA.
USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis played for William and Mary from 1987-1987 and was an assistant coach at UVA from 1996-1997.