SANDY, Utah (Tuesday, May 31, 2018) – Utah Royals FCDF Becky Sauerbrunn, FW Amy Rodriguezand GK Abby Smithhave been called up to represent the Stars and Stripes in an international friendly against China at Rio Tinto Stadium, announced U.S. Head Coach Jill Ellis and the United States Soccer Federation. The call comes during the NWSL FIFA break and will include other league stars like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath.
The United States Women’s National Team stint is set to run from June 1-13 as the team will play back-to-back matches against China P.R. on June 7, at Rio Tinto Stadium (7:00 p.m. MT on FS1), and June 12, at FirstEnergy Stadium (5:00 p.m. MT on ESPN2). The match-up in Sandy will be the first appearance for the USWNT in Utah since the establishment of the NWSL’s newest team, Utah Royals FC – who call the RioT home.
The U.S. and China have a rich legacy of rivalry and championship wins. The teams played each other in two consecutive tournament finals in the 1990s, with the U.S. winning 2-1 in the 1996 Olympic gold medal game, and in the historic penalty shoot-out of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. The U.S. and China have played against each other 56 times, but have not met since 2015.
“Obviously, there’s a great history between the countries and we always enjoy the matches against China,” Ellis said to USsoccer.com. “They bring a level of technical skill and tactical savvy that challenges us, which is what we need as we continue to prepare for World Cup qualifying in the fall.”
Sauerbrunnis no rookie when it comes to international play, registering over 140 appearances for team USA. Sauerbrunn brings a hefty resume, boasting a gold medal in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, two NWSL championships (2014, 2015), a gold medal from the 2012 London Olympics, and two CONCACAF Women’s Qualifying Cups (2010, 2014). Since her arrival to Salt Lake City, Sauerbrunn has played every single minute with Utah Royals FC and has been a mainstay for the squad as captain and gritty center back.
Another experienced leader on the pitch, Rodriguezwill make her first return to USWNT since tearing her ACL in the 2017 NWSL season. As one of the most decorated players of the last decade, “A-Rod” will play in the same stadium where she once scored a brilliant 85thminute game-winner in the USA’s 2012 Olympic send-off match against Canada. During her illustrious international career, Rodriguez has made 130 appearances and scored 30 goals for the U.S. side, after a celebrated debut as an 18-year old high school senior against Finland in the 2005 Algarve Cup. By the spring of 2008, Rodriguez became a regular in the USA lineup, playing in almost every game of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, helping the U.S. secure a gold medal. “A-Rod” earned her second Olympic gold medal in London in 2012, setting a CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying record en route to those Games with a record-setting performance against the Dominican Republic, scoring five goals in a single match.
Smithhas also worn the U.S. crest as a member of the U-17, U-20, and U-23 teams, and was rostered on the senior side in May 2017 for friendlies against Sweden and Norway. Still one of the youngest keepers in the NWSL, Smith is now playing in her third season in the league after a successful college career at the University of Texas, where she set a school record her freshman year for lowest goals against average as a rookie (0.63). Smith finished her college career ranked first in the Big 12 Conference for 96 total saves, with 5.33 saves-per-match. She currently holds four clean sheets this season for URFC.
Catch the Action
U.S.A. vs. China P.R. – June 7, 2018: Tickets are now on sale for this highly-anticipated match-up on ussoccer.com, or by calling 844-REAL-TIX, and at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.). The game will also be broadcasted on FS1.
U.S.A. vs. China P.R. – June 12, 2018: Tickets for the game in Cleveland are also on sale to the public on ussoccer.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets can be purchased at the FirstEnergy Stadium ticket office, but only on June 11, and on the day of the game. The match will be broadcasted on ESPN2.
Ultimate Fan Ticket specials that include premium tickets, USWNT official jersey, and VIP field access are also available for both matches on ussoccer.com.
Meet Team USA
Other players rostered for the training camp and friendly include:
Chicago Red Stars:Julie Ertz, Sofia Huerta, Alyssa Naeher
N.C. Courage: Crystal Dunn, Abby Dahlkemper, Merritt Mathias, Samantha Mewis, McCall Zerboni
Orlando Pride: Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris
Portland Thorns: Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Midge Purce, Emily Sonnett
Seattle Reign: Allie Long, Megan Rapinoe
Sky Blue: Carli Lloyd
Utah Royals: Amy Rodriguez, Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Smith
Washington: Mallory Pugh
Born less than a year ago and already supported by nearly 6,000 season ticket holders, Utah Royals FC tickets are available by calling 844.Real.Tix or visiting www.UtahRoyalsFC.com.