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USWNT's Jill Ellis names Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn new captains

By Alex Butler   |   Jan. 9, 2016 at 6:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The captain's band will change arms, signaling a new wave of leadership for the U.S. Women's National Team.

Coach Jill Ellis named midfielder Carli Lloyd and defender Becky Sauerbrunn the 13th and 14th players to serve as captains in the 31st year for the program.

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Christie Rampone and Abby Wambach were the previous captains.

"Christie and Abby have been phenomenal leaders for this team for a long time, and we are forever grateful for their far-reaching contributions," Ellis told USSoccer.com.

"As we move into the next phase of this program, I've selected two captains who I know will represent us extremely well on and off the field and will help facilitate the positive direction of this team. They are two extremely professional players in both game and training environments and they embody the DNA of this program."

Lloyd, 33, led the team in goals scored in 2015 with 18 and captained the team in four games at the Women's World Cup. Sauerbrunn, 30, captained FC Kansas City to the past two NWSL championships. She also won the NWSL Defender of the Year award the last three years.

"I never thought I would be captaining the National Team, but I'm humbled and it's an amazing honor," Lloyd told USSoccer.com.

"At this stage in my career, I'm ready to take on this type of leadership role but I also know that this team features a lot of great leaders and we all lead in our own way. We have high goals and standards and it's the job of the veterans to make sure everyone is meeting those standards, which on this team of highly motivated women is an exciting prospect."

The USWNT opens its 2016 schedule with a friendly against the Republic of Ireland at 5 p.m. Jan. 23 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The team will then compete in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament Feb. 10 to Feb. 21 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas and BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

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