Quiet Becky Sauerbrunn slips comfortably into leader’s role

Becky Sauerbrunn, training session during 2013 Algarve Cup in Ferreiras, Portugal. (Armando Franca/AP))

Becky Sauerbrunn, training session, 2013 Algarve Cup. (Armando Franca/AP))

Defenders rarely attract much attention, except when they make mistakes:

Becky Sauerbrunn doesn’t make many mistakes.

Sauerbrunn, one of the best players in the world, has spent most of her eight-year career flying well below the radar.

A quiet sort by nature, she’s been fine with that.

Becky Sauerbrunn and Betcheba Louis of Haiti, Sept. 17, 2015. (Diane Weiss/Detroit Free Press)

Becky Sauerbrunn vs. Haiti, Sept. 17, 2015. (Diane Weiss/Detroit Free Press)

But as Goal.com points out in this profile, the quiet center back is emerging as one of the U.S. team’s leaders, on and off the pitch.

She was named co-captain, along with Carli Lloyd, in January. She is one of five players who who signed a wage-discrimination complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In games, she’s the one (along with Hope Solo) charged by coach Jill Ellis with keeping the backline organized. Since last summer’s World Cup, that line has been a model of precision, reliability, and efficiency.

In 11 games this year, the United States is 11-0-0. The Americans have given up just one goal.

“I don’t know if the players are listening to me more,” Sauerbrunn says, “or if it’s just I’ve never really talked as much.”

Sauerbrunn earned her 100th cap in February, and she’s always near the top in minutes played.

But she’s never scored a goal.

What do you see in the highlight videos?

Goals.

Sauerbrunn says she’s happy with her place outside the spotlight.

“At the end of the day, what really matters is what my team thinks of me, what my coaches think of me,” she says.

Here’s what they think of her: She’s nicknamed  “the Silent Assassin.”

.Becky Sauerbrunn vs. Canada. (Brad Loper/The Dallas Morning News)

Becky Sauerbrunn vs. Canada. (Brad Loper/The Dallas Morning News)

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