Playing in the outfield, a defender's role is to keep the opposing team as far away from the goalpost as possible and prevent them from scoring. Defenders are considered the backbone of the team; their primary job is to prevent forwards from passing forward (duh), dribbling toward the goal, or shooting. In short, they do whatever it takes to prevent their opponents from taking a shot. Being a successful defender requires grit, speed, strong passing skills, and the ability to push offencive players off the ball.
There are seven defenders on the US World Cup Team:
- Tierna Davidson, the youngest member of the team at age 20; Abby Dahlkemper, a member of the North Carolina Courage
- Crystal Dunn, a Jill of all trades who played forward, midfielder, and defender during her time on UNC's soccer team
- Ali Krieger, who was on the field for all but 10 minutes of the 2015 World Cup Final
- Kelley O'Hara, who will be competing in her third consecutive World Cup
- Becky Sauerbrunn, who won NWSL Defender of the Year three times in a row
- Emily Sonnett, the NWSL first overall draft pick who is making her World Cup debut this year