SALT LAKE CITY — In the world of women’s professional soccer, it is common for top players to negotiate their way to play for certain club teams, often near where they live.

Last week, numerous outlets reported that Utah Royals FC was set to trade former United States Women’s National Team captain and stalwart center back Becky Sauerbrunn to Portland Thorns FC (Sauerbrunn lives in Portland).

On Tuesday, the deal became official. In exchange for Sauerbrunn, URFC has acquired defender Elizabeth Ball as well as $100,000 of allocation money, which can be used to sign players or for other club-related costs.

The trade announcement indicates that URFC will receive an additional $50,000 of allocation money if certain conditions are met.

In losing Sauerbrunn, URFC will enter the 2020 season without its captain and best defender from its first two seasons of existence. The good news is that the 24-year-old Ball has experience at center back, and it stands to reason she will slot into the starting lineup alongside Rachel Corsie.

Ball made 15 appearances with 13 starts last season, including in the National Women’s Soccer League semifinals.

In a classy gesture typical of Sauerbrunn, she delivered a prerecorded video message that was posted on URFC’s Twitter account moments before the announcement of the trade was made.

“The past two years have been wonderful, and I have truly enjoyed my time and experience with the Utah Royals FC team, staff and fans,” Sauerbrunn said.

Sauerbrunn went on to say that when she joined the team at its inception, she communicated with management that she would like to play near home at some point, and she expressed gratitude that general manager Stephanie Lee honored that desire.

She also thanked owner Dell Loy Hansen “for his passion and investment in the women’s game. You treated us like the world-class athletes we are, and that’s all we’ve ever asked for,” she said. “I’d also like to thank the fans and community in Utah for your unwavering support. You make it incredibly hard to leave.”

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Sauerbrunn closed with a message for her now-former teammates, who she’ll see again soon, as URFC and PTFC will open the 2020 campaign against each other on April 18 in Portland.

“Whether a game or a training, a win or a loss, being with you was the best part of every day,” she said. “I will see you the first game of the season.”

Said Lee of Sauerbrunn in a statement: “We are so thankful for her contributions as part of the team and community, and we are happy we can grant her request to be home in a way that allows us to utilize resources in other avenues to better the team.”

Of Ball, new URFC head coach Craig Harrington said in a statement, “Elizabeth offers us real defending adaptability and options. She has shown in the past that she can play a variety of positions and her versatility allows us to be flexible to a lot of formations.”

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