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What Becky Sauerbrunn’s Utah Royals commitment means

Simply, this is huge for the new team in the NWSL.

Canada v United States Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

The Utah Royals FC have yet to formally announce their roster, but the club has inherited the entire roster from the former FC Kansas City team including three U.S. National Team players: Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy Rodriguez, and Sydney Leroux.

Though the rest of the roster remains to be revealed, it was announced that Becky Sauerbrunn, a key player in KC and with the U.S. National Team, has committed to playing in Utah. Sauerbrunn, a captain for club and country, is undoubtedly a big name and major signing for the Royals.

So, what does this mean?

Sauerbrunn is a World Cup Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, an NWSL Champion (twice), and a three-time NWSL Defender of the Year. The Royals not only add a veteran player to the roster, but a decorated one as well. Sauerbrunn, like head coach Laura Harvey, is one of the most respected names in women’s soccer as a player and leader.

Her signing, the first to be announced, is a major milestone for a club entering the NWSL. Sauerbrunn brings leadership as the current captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team, experience with over 220 appearances for club and country, and a variety of accomplishments. If you don’t believe me, check out Sauerbrunn’s résumé the club recently put together.

Since helping anchor the backline for the U.S. Women’s National Team in their quest to a third World Cup title in 2015 and FC Kansas City to back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015, Sauerbrunn has been admired by coaches, teammates, players, and media throughout the league for the way she reads the game, especially her ability to read building plays on the field. Additionally, her marking and positioning in the backline is exceptional, and why for years she has been considered the best defender in the world.

Also, by announcing her commitment, we can expect more former FC Kansas City players to formally announce their commitment. After all, Sauerbrunn was the captain in KC, and by taking leadership by becoming the first player from the KC roster to sign, others will be follow. We will just simply wait.

And of course, there’s now the fact that Laura Harvey and Sauerbrunn are on the same team. For years, they were on opposite sides, and Harvey knows better than anyone what it is like to go against a team with Sauerbrunn on the roster. Sauerbrunn’s FC Kansas City side defeated Harvey’s Seattle side for the 2014 and 2015 championships. Sauerbrunn has admitted to admiring Harvey’s coaching style, and now she has a chance to play for her.

Simply, the rest of the NWSL better take note. This Utah team is going to be a major contender in 2018 and beyond.