Julie Johnston: real reason she’s been the USWNT MVP


julie johnston

Julie Johnston has been both the breakout player and the MVP of this World Cup for the United States.  She hasn’t scored yet, but she created a wonderful chance Saturday night; and also assisted on the one goal the U.S. Women’s National team did score versus China. (She also had a goal in group play waived off, due to an offsides call)

Johnston is one of the major reasons that U.S. have only conceded one goal in the entire tournament, and have held their opponents for 423 minutes and counting.

Julie Johnston, one of the youngest players on this team, has been given many compliments from numerous soccer pundits during this World Cup. 


Among the many compliments she received, she’s been labelled: a work horse, a rock star, solid offensively, superlative defensively, and the USWNT’s most important player. She has consistently drawn the highest individual player ratings on the team throughout the tournament as well. There’s only one player drawing 9/10 ratings and we’ll get to that in a bit.

If you could only pick one U.S. player to put on the All 2015 World Cup tournament team, it would be Julie Johnston. Not bad for someone who was extremely obscure heading into this tournament; and wasn’t expected to have a major role. 

So what makes the Chicago Red Stars Defender so superlative?


Kate Markgraf, ESPN Analyst and 1999 Women’s World Cup Champion, gave us an answer:

I think what has to be said when we talk about Julie Johnston is that she’s extremely lucky to play next to Becky Sauerbrunn.” 

“And that’s not to take away anything that she’s doing because she’s playing great, but Becky Sauerbrunn holds down the fort.  When you know you have no responsibility other than to show up and play and do what you want to do, then you are the freest person on there.  Becky is organizing everybody.  Becky is making sure that Klingenberg comes back and that Johnston’s on the same line and she’s reading the passing angles and holding the line and telling them when to drop.” 

But where Julie is really killing it, to me, is just what she brings offensively.  Because now if you are a defender on a set piece, you’re not only worried about Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach, if Wambach is in the game, now you have a third person you have to mark. 

“So that makes the U.S. attack very unpredictable on who their target really is because arguably Julie is just as dangerous in the air as Lloyd.”


So Julie Johnston has been a breakout star, but a lot of that is because she’s free to do what she wants because of Becky Sauerbrunn.”

So there you have it- the secret to the success of Julie Johnston is….Becky Sauerbrunn.

-USWNT Profile Series:

Alex Morgan

Hope Solo

Sydney Leroux

Christen Press

Abby Wambach

Julie Johnston


Ali Krieger

Amy Rodriguez

-Canada profile series

Lauren Sesselman

Adriana Leon

-World Cup On-Air talent profiles

Alexi Lalas


Heather Mitts

Leslie Osborne

Jenny Taft 

Julie Stewart-Binks

Kate Abdo

Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes to the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition. He also appears regularly on numerous sports talk radio stations all across the country.

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  1. Purity Prydain says

    Oh, how quickly the hyperbole is shown to be hyperbole! Article written a few days before the PK given to Germany; and allowing a goal against Japan plus the own goal. No doubt, Johnston will become one the best players for the USWNT, but here’s to hoping her biggest mistakes are behind her and she’s learned from them.

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