Becky Sauerbrunn named first USWNTPA president

U.S. women's World Cup winner Becky Sauerbrunn has been selected as president of the United States Women's National Team Players Association, USWNTPA executive director Becca Roux confirmed to ESPN.

Sauerbrunn, 34, becomes the first to serve in the newly created position with the organization.

Additionally, Kelley O'Hara will serve as vice president-secretary and Samantha Mewis as vice president-treasurer.

All three players were elected this week by the association's voting members to serve as the Executive Committee for 2020. Executive Committee representatives serve for one year, and there are no term limits. This is Sauerbrunn's fifth term on the committee, while O'Hara is in her third term and Mewis is in her second.

"I'm excited to continue representing our PA with Kelley and Sam," Sauerbrunn said. "We have a big year ahead, both on and off the field, and having the trust of our membership is a huge vote of confidence to pursue the goals we've set for the organization."

Certified after the 1999 World Cup, the USWNTPA had not previously defined leadership titles within the Executive Committee but newly amended bylaws created the titles, which were then assigned by members of the committee.

Sauerbrunn has made 174 appearances for the U.S., second among active players behind Carli Lloyd. She will tie former U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry for 15th in team history with her next appearance and could become the 12th player to reach 200 appearances.

Currently with the U.S. for the SheBelieves Cup, Sauerbrunn was traded Tuesday from the NWSL's Utah Royals to the Portland Thorns. She was a first-team all-league selection in each of the league's first seven seasons with the Royals and FC Kansas City. She is also a four-time pick as the league's best defender, most recently last season.

Despite that success, Sauerbrunn, who chose Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when U.S. players selected inspirational figures to honor on the backs of their jerseys during a game in 2019, generally keeps a lower public profile than some teammates. A self-described introvert, her longevity on the Executive Committee and new title as president speak to her influence behind the scenes.

"I think people know that when I speak -- people know that I do pick and choose based on how important I feel that topic is," Sauerbrunn told ESPN last year. "And they listen. I think that's been really nice for me because I always worried when I was younger that it didn't matter what I said, no one was going to pay attention to it."

That led her to take on an active role in the players' ongoing fight for equal pay.

While the USWNTPA is not formally involved in the current lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, Sauerbrunn is one of five players who filed a wage discrimination complaint against the governing body with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016. That complaint proved to be the first step down the legal road that led to the ongoing lawsuit against the federation that was filed last year by 28 members of the national team player pool.

Sauerbrunn, along with Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, is one of four class representatives in that lawsuit. U.S. Soccer opposed their standing as class representatives, arguing each earned more money than male counterparts in the contested period. A federal judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and against the federation on that issue last November.