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Becky Sauerbrunn re-signs with Portland Thorns for 2023 season

The defender USWNT captain will stay in the Rose City for at least one more year.

NWSL: Chicago Red Stars at Portland Thorns FC Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Thorns announced today that Becky Sauerbrunn has signed a contract to remain with the team for the 2023 NWSL season. Sauerbrunn was eligible to be a free agent at the end this season, and the Thorns acted quickly to preserve the services of the central defender for at least one more year.

Sauerbrunn, currently in her third season with the Thorns, has become a mainstay of the backline since the moment she arrived. She has anchored one of the best backlines in the league this season, as the Thorns have conceded the second-fewest goals in the league, and have posted clean sheets in nine of their 21 league games in 2022.

The United States Women’s National Team captain also recorded her first goal and first assist as a Thorn this season (while exhibiting an iconic celebration along the way), and also played her landmark 150th NWSL game, becoming only the 14th player to reach that milestone.

“Our team is a special team and Becky is big part of that – her leadership, her experience, and how she’s respected by her teammates are all key ingredients to what makes her a critical piece of our success,” said Karina LeBlanc, Thorns FC general manager, on Sauerbrunn’s re-signing.

“Becky had the option to pursue free agency and we are grateful she made a commitment to this club,” LeBlanc continued. “We wanted to make sure that we continued this relationship and I believe we both win in the end by having Becky back with our club in 2023.”

With Sauerbrunn still in the fold, the Thorns return the entirety of the main pieces of their defense from the 2022 campaign. The significance of her continued presence on the field is not lost on head coach Rhian Wilkinson, who shared, “Becky has been fantastic for us this year, she has been one of the top center backs in the league. She not only controls the tempo of the game, but also helps support and direct her teammates through games, something which has helped in the development and confidence of our young players.”

Her impact off the field, and the intangibles she brings to the team, is also a big lift for the team. “Off the field a lot has been said about her and her leadership, and that continues, she is a joy to have with the group and to work with as a coach,” Wilkinson added.

The head coach concluded her remarks on the signing by laying out what Thorns fans have known since Portland traded for the defender in 2020: “Who wouldn’t want a Becky Sauerbrunn?!”

You can read the team’s full press release on Becky Sauerbrunn’s re-signing here.