Changes continue to roll through the USWNT as Jill Ellis has named Becky Sauerbrunn and Carli Lloyd as co-captains of the team. Lloyd will wear the armband if both players are on the pitch. With Abby Wambach retired and Christie Rampone out due to minor knee surgery, it now falls to veterans Lloyd and Sauerbrunn to formally step into their leadership roles.
"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," said Ellis.
Lloyd has already served as a captain, wearing the armband throughout the World Cup except to hand it off here and there.
Sauerbrunn has also worn the armband for the United States before, although in a much more limited capacity.
USA Lineup Notes: Defender Becky Sauerbrunn will wear the captain's armband today. She did so in last year's Algarve Cup opener as well.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) March 5, 2014
Sauerbrunn's appointment especially reverberates considering she was a bench player under former coach Pia Sundhage, but in the past few years has become an essential part of any starting XI.
This appointment also undoubtedly comes as a part of the changing of the guard. Christie Rampone, stalwart central defender and original 99er, may now quietly slip away from the national spotlight. Rampone is 40 and has recently dealt with a string of injuries and reduced playing time. With another World Cup finally in the bank, it would be a fitting bookend to her career.
For this new USWNT, which seems to be well on the path to truly integrating new players, Lloyd and Sauerbrunn will make a good complimentary duo in terms of leadership and experience. 2016 is already looking exciting as a year of new beginnings for this squad.