The NWSL announced Monday that FC Kansas City's Becky Sauerbrunn was voted the National Women's Soccer League Defender of the Year for the 2015 NWSL season. Sauerbrunn is the first three time league award winner, having also won Defender of the Year in 2013 and 2014.
Sauerbrunn only played in 11 regular season matches (every minute) for the Blues but led the defending champs to five of their nine shutouts. She also helped FC Kansas City to a four game shutout streak and in that streak had back-to-back games where the Blues did not allow a shot on goal.
The St. Louis native missed nearly half of the season when she played every minute for the United States at the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada where she and her team mates earned their third star as World Cup champions.
Despite Sauerbrunn missing almost half the season, it was no shock to FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski that she won the award. "I was not surprised at all. Becky has been the best in the league since day one. She keeps proving that both domestically in this league and internationally for the national team she proved she is the best defender in the world day in and day out. I am just happy and blessed to coach someone like Becky and like to feel that I had at least a little part in her professional development."
Sauerbrunn responded to the honor with a tweet yesterday and in typical, humble Becky fashion gave thanks to the players that deserved it more and kept the league running.
A note on the #NWSLDOY award pic.twitter.com/aR1dE8rMzX— Becky Sauerbrunn (@beckysauerbrunn) September 21, 2015
FIFA 16 knows Sauerbrunn's value
Coach Andonovski has long felt and happily told anyone that would listen how Sauerbrunn was the best center back in the league and the world. With the new FIFA 16 that just came out, he has some agreement from the gurus at EA Sports.
This is the first version to have women's teams included. There are the top 12 women's national teams in the game and FC Kansas City/US center back Becky Sauerbrunn is the highest ranked defender and tenth overall.
"At least we have someone that knows about soccer," Andonovski laughed. "FIFA needs to use someone at EA Sports to nominate players for FIFA as well." Andonovski was referring to Sauerbrunn not being named one of the best players at the World Cup.
A couple weeks ago when the news came out, Sauerbrunn took it in stride and focused on the good for women's soccer.
"It's awesome. I think it's great for women's soccer, I am glad they put women in the game and glad I got to be in there also. Huge honor, I don't know how they do that but it's an honor to be one of the top ranked defenders," Becky stated.