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Naomi Girma borrowed Becky Sauerbrunn’s No. 4 jersey for World Cup

Naomi Girma is replaced by Becky Sauerbrunn during the USWNT's friendly against England in October 2022. (Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Becky Sauerbrunn is back with the U.S. women’s national team, and back to wearing her traditional No. 4, which had been on loan to rising star Naomi Girma in her absence.

Girma wore the No. 4 jersey during the World Cup. But on Monday, the 23-year-old center-back said there “wasn’t a fight” when it came to returning the jersey number to Sauerbrunn.

“Becky just takes it back,” she said. “It was no fight. I asked to wear it during the World Cup.”

Sauerbrunn, though, was happy to loan the jersey to her fellow center-back for the tournament. The 38-year-old USWNT veteran missed the World Cup with a foot injury and is making her return to the team at the October training camp.

“She was actually really sweet. I got this wonderful text message from her,” Sauerbrunn said before turning to Girma. “And really, you didn’t need to ask because you needed to wear a number that was between 1 and 23.”

Girma “realized that after” she reached out to Sauerbrunn, she said. Every member of the 23-player world Cup roster must wear a number in that range. Nonetheless, the gesture from Girma, who lived up to the No. 4 jersey while at the World Cup, left Sauebrunn touched.

“It was just like a really sweet gesture and I was like, of course,” she said. “We rent the jersey number. It’s not mine. It’s not Nay’s. This is how it’s supposed to be. You just have it for as long as you can and then it goes to the next person and that’s the cycle of life.”

Even still, Girma wants to make one thing clear: The number is Sauerbrunn’s for now.

“Becky is No. 4,” she said, “to be clear.”

Naomi Girma sported the No. 4 jersey for the USWNT at the 2023 World Cup. (Robin Alam/Getty Images for USSF)