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Game Recaps

Denise O’Sullivan to join Canberra United FC on Loan as Guest Player

By NC Courage Communications 10/18/2018, 4:15pm EDT

NC Courage aims to bring back core of 2018 NWSL Championship Team

By NC Courage Communications 10/01/2018, 4:15pm EDT

Cary, N.C. (Oct. 1, 2018) – The North Carolina Courage announced today it has exercised options on seven players from the 2018 NWSL Championship team.
After already securing the services of team captain and 2018 NWSL Defender of the Year Abby Erceg for next season, the club has picked up options for Kaleigh Kurtz, Heather O’Reilly, Denise O’Sullivan, Cari Roccaro, Katelyn Rowland, Meredith Speck and McCall Zerboni ensuring they will return to the club in 2019.

“It was a fabulous season but already we are putting in building blocks to ensure we continue to grow as a club, team and organization,” said NC Courage Head Coach Paul Riley. “Continuity of players is vital, and our detailed plan has many players returning as you can see by our recent signings. Off season emphasis is preparing not only for next season but for the fact it’s a World Cup year.”

Sabrina D’Angelo remains on the roster as a 2018 Canadian subsidized player, while Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams remain as 2018 Federation Players for the United States. Federation status for 2019 will be announced at a later date.

Additionally, the club extended contract offers to Debinha, Elizabeth Eddy, Kristen Hamilton, Jaelene Hinkle, Darian Jenkins, Julie King, Merritt Mathias, and 2018 NWSL Championship MVP Jessica McDonald to bring them back to Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park for 2019.

“Our performance values remain the same and the continued development of this young group is exciting for our growing fan base,” Riley continued. “Courage culture is evolving and fosters a resilience and resolve that we look for in every player signing we make.”

With these moves, the club aims to bring back the core of the 2018 record-setting team that completed the most successful season in United States women’s professional soccer history. In 2018 the NC Courage broke records for most wins, goals, points, least goals allowed, and goal differential in a single season, on their way to capture a historic treble with the Women’s International Champions Cup in July, the 2018 NWSL shield in August and the NWSL Championship in September.

“Player negotiations continue, and we are determined to make 2019 season a riveting and exhilarating one for our season ticket holders and entire Courage fan base,” Riley concluded.

Japanese International Yuri Kawamura, who suffered a torn ACL injury at the Women’s ICC in July, did not receive a contract offer and will be placed on the NWSL Re-entry wire.

North Carolina Courage season tickets are on sale now, and fans interested in securing their seats for 2019 should click here to learn about the exclusive benefits of becoming a season ticket member.



North Carolina Courage Captain Abby Erceg Re-signs with the Club

By NC Courage Communications 09/28/2018, 12:00pm EDT

Cary, NC (September 28, 2018) – 2018 NWSL Defender of the Year Abby Erceg has inked a new contract with the North Carolina Courage, the club announced today, ensuring the captain of the 2018 NWSL Champions will return in 2019. Per club policy, no further terms of the deal were disclosed.

“Re-signing was an easy decision,” said Erceg. “Taking into consideration our success, the culture of the team and the support we receive, it left me very little option other than to sign for as long as I possibly could. I’m excited for the seasons ahead.”

Erceg was instrumental this season in helping the NC Courage capture the historical treble. In July the Courage won the inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup defeating five-time UEFA Champions League champion Olympique Lyonnais. The feat was followed in August by capturing the club’s second consecutive NWSL Shield followed by the NWSL Championship in on September 22, making the NC Courage the best team in the history of United States women’s soccer.

“Fantastic for our club to ink our leader and defensive general,” said NC Courage Head Coach Paul Riley. “Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. She is a thoroughbred in every department and has been an integral part of the Courage success story. Look forward to continuing the journey with such a fabulous player, selfless leader and true professional.”

In addition to playing a key role as club captain, Erceg has been invaluable as a rock at the back of the Courage defense.

During the 2018 NWSL season, Erceg proved her durability by earning the distinction as the only member of the Courage to play every minute of the season (26 matches, 2,340 minutes).

As part of a Courage defense that set a regular-season league record by only allowing 17 goals, Erceg recorded 125 clearances, 22 blocks and 53 interceptions.

The New Zealander won 73.3 percent of tackles, 68.7 percent of duels and 65.6 percent of aerial duels. In the last there years, Erceg is the only player in the NWSL to have a regular season with 100-plus clearances and 80-plus aerial duels won.

Erceg even chipped in two goals and two assists to help the Courage compile the most prolific offensive attack in NWSL history.

With the history of professional women’s soccer rewritten, the Erceg and the NC Courage have closed the book on the greatest season to date and will begin to build for more success in 2019.

Abby Erceg Voted 2018 NWSL Defender of the Year

By NC Courage Communications 09/27/2018, 11:00am EDT

CHICAGO (Sep. 27, 2018) –North Carolina Courage captain Abby Erceg was voted the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Defender of the Year for the 2018 NWSL season, the league announced today.
Erceg, 28, is the first international player and the second Courage player to win the award. The New Zealand native came to the NWSL in 2014 and joined the Western New York Flash in 2016. The Courage captain was one of only five players across the NWSL to play every minute (2,106) of every game this season. 
“It’s definitely been an accolade in the making and it’s taken a solid three years to get to the point where I was injury free and performing at a level to even be considered,” said Erceg. “In saying that, individual awards are interesting in a team sport because I have to rely so much on my teammates to help me get to the point I am currently at. Without them, this award means nothing, so this is for them.”
Utah Royals captain Becky Sauerbrunn, Portland Thorns’ Emily Sonnett, Chicago Red Stars’ Julie Ertz and the Courage’s Abby Dahlkemper finished second, third, fourth and fifth respectively, in the voting. 

2018 Defender of the Year Voting Results:

Abby Erceg 13.4% 35.9% 33.3% 25.6% 26.8%
Becky Sauerbrunn 25.2% 21.8% 26.7% 25.6% 25.0%
Emily Sonnett 25.7% 15.0% 16.7% 17.0% 18.3%
Julie Ertz 22.7% 7.4% 16.7% 17.2% 16.2%
Abby Dahlkemper 13.0% 20.0% 6.7% 14.7% 13.8%

Erceg helped to lead a Courage defense that allowed the fewest goals in the league and earned 11 clean sheets. She made 110 clearances (2nd in the NWSL), 21 blocks (4th), 50 interceptions and 19 tackles won. She won 116 duels, including 81 aerial duels, which ranked 5th in the league. She held an 81.9% passing accuracy (1047 passes) and added 2 goals and 2 assists.
The Whangarei, New Zealand native was a key factor in the Courage’s 3-0 victory over the Thorns FC in the 2018 NWSL Championship on Saturday. She and her defensive teammates were able to keep the high-powered Portland offense to only three shots on goal as they shut out the Thorns and claimed their first NWSL Championship. 

List of NWSL Defenders of the Year:

YEAR                     DEFENDER                                     CLUB
2013                      Becky Sauerbrunn                      FC Kansas City 
2014                      Becky Sauerbrunn                      FC Kansas City
2015                      Becky Sauerbrunn                      FC Kansas City
2016                      Lauren Barnes                            Seattle Reign FC
2017                      Abby Dahlkemper                       North Carolina Courage
2018                      Abby Erceg                                 North Carolina Courage
The NWSL awards are voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on a consistent basis and fans.

Paul Riley Named 2018 NWSL Coach of the Year

By NC Courage Communications 09/26/2018, 3:00pm EDT


CHICAGO (Sep. 26, 2018) – North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley was voted National Women’s Soccer League 2018 Coach of the Year, the NWSL announced today.

Riley, 55, has guided his team to their second straight NWSL Shield with a 17-1-6 record and, with a 3-0 win last Saturday, became the first coach to secure the Shield and the Championship Trophy in the same season. This is Riley’s second Coach of the Year award, after he led the Courage to the league’s best record in their first season in North Carolina last year.

Seattle Reign coach Vlatko Andonovski and Portland Thorns’ Mark Parsons were second and third in the voting, respectively.

2018 Coach of the Year Voting Results







Paul Riley






Vlatko Andonovski






Mark Parsons







North Carolina’s 57 points on the season were 15 points more than any other team in the NWSL. The Courage set NWSL records for most wins (17), points (57), fewest losses (1), most goals scored (53), fewest goals allowed (17), goals against average (.71) and largest goal differential (+36). They also became the first team in NWSL history to go unbeaten on the road for an entire season.

Riley becomes the second coach to win back-to-back Coach of the Year honors after fellow England native Laura Harvey won the award in 2014 and 2015 with the Seattle Reign FC.

Riley’s Courage played in their second straight NWSL championship last Saturday, September 22. His side pulled off a dominant 3-0 victory over Portland Thorns FC, capturing the club’s first NWSL Championship since the team relocated to North Carolina prior to the 2017 season.

List of NWSL Coaches of the Year:

YEAR             COACH                            CLUB

2013              Vlatko Andonovski           FC Kansas City

2014              Laura Harvey                   Seattle Reign

2015              Laura Harvey                   Seattle Reign

2016              Mark Parsons                   Portland Thorns

2017              Paul Riley                            North Carolina Courage

2018              Paul Riley                         NC Courage

The NWSL awards are voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on a consistent basis and fans.


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Darian Jenkins Named Select Physical Therapy Comeback Player of the Year

By NC Courage Communications 09/26/2018, 2:30pm EDT

Cary, NC (September 26, 2018) - NC Courage forward Darian Jenkins has been named Select Physical Therapy Comeback Player of the Year, the club announced today. Jenkins sat out 2017 with an injury and made her professional debut in 2018 with stellar results.


“I’m really thankful,” said Jenkins. “I couldn’t have done it without Lindsey’s [NC Courage Head Athletic Trainer Lindsey Toman] constant work and patience with me, and Kenny [Lynnes, Select Physical Therapy, DPT, ATC] always allowing me to come in and get treatment. Mike Young [Director, Athletic Lab] also really helped me with the strength and conditioning process. I’m really fortunate to have these people around me and it’s awesome that I was able to come back from something like that.”


Selected seventh overall in the 2017 NWSL College Draft, Jenkins was only the second ever pick for the inaugural NC Courage. She did not play in 2017 as she recovered from a broken fibula and made her professional debut on March 24, 2018 coming on as a second-half substitute in the match against Portland Thorns FC.


The UCLA product went on to appear in 14 matches between regular season and playoffs all as a substitute, logging 179 minutes.


Jenkins was instrumental in helping the NC Courage secure a spot in the inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup final, and ultimately capture the trophy, as she recorded her first professional goal on July 26, 2018 against French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain Féminines. The 84th minute strike proved to be the game-winner that earned the team a spot in the final against Olympique Lyonnais.


Jenkins and the NC Courage just concluded a record-breaking season that resulted in the team completing the first ever treble in United States Women’s Soccer. After winning the ICC in July, the NC Courage captured the 2018 NWSL Shield in August and the 2018 NWSL Championship in September. In addition to winning three major trophies, the Courage broke NWSL regular season records for wins (17), regular-season points (57) and regular-season goals (53).


With the history of professional women’s soccer rewritten, the Courage have closed the book on the greatest season to date and will begin to build for more success in 2019.


Select Physical Therapy is the NC Courage’s official provider of athletic training and physical therapy services and offers more than 35 convenient locations throughout North Carolina. For more information, please visit today.  


About Select Physical Therapy

Select Physical Therapy is part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division, a nationally prominent, locally driven provider of outpatient physical rehabilitation. Throughout the country, the Select Medical family of brands includes NovaCare Rehabilitation, Select Physical Therapy, Physiotherapy Associates, Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team (KORT), Saco Bay Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, Champion Sports Medicine, Rehab Associates, Banner Physical Therapy, NovaCare Prosthetics & Orthotics, NovaCare and Select Kids Pediatric Therapy, Emory Rehabilitation Outpatient Center, Kessler Rehabilitation Center, SSM Health Physical Therapy and Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation Outpatient Therapy. Together, these brands comprise a national network of more than 1,600 centers in 37 states and the District of Columbia. The centers offer a wide range of general physical therapy services such as hand therapy, sports medicine and work injury prevention and management. Select Medical empowers its therapists by providing industry-leading continuing education opportunities. Select Medical’s outpatient division provides physical therapy and athletic training services to professional sports teams, colleges, universities and high schools and serves as the exclusive physical rehabilitation provider to several major U.S. corporations.

HISTORY! NC Courage Claim NWSL Championship with 3-0 Win Over Portland

By NC Courage Communications 09/22/2018, 6:45pm EDT

NC Courage Set to Conclude Historic Season in NWSL Championship Rematch

By NC Courage Communications 09/21/2018, 12:00pm EDT

Seven NC Courage Players on NWSL’s Best XI and Second XI

By NC Courage Communications 09/20/2018, 4:00pm EDT

NC Courage Announces Team Awards

By NC Courage Communications 09/20/2018, 3:45pm EDT

Cary, NC (September 20, 2018) - The North Carolina Courage announced team end of season awards today as voted on by their teammates. Awards were given in several categories including offensive and defensive player, leadership, MVP and community service, as well as the Golden Boot, awarded to the player with the most goals at the end of the regular season. 
Lynn Williams earned the Team Golden Boot Award for the second consecutive year recording 14 goals throughout the season to help propel the NC Courage to a regular season title and the 2018 NWSL Shield. Additionally, the forward was voted team Offensive Player of the Year recording five assists in 21 games played and was instrumental in helping the NC Courage capture the inaugural Women’s Champions Cup.
Team captain Abby Erceg was voted Defender of the Year by her peers for shoring up a defense that conceded only 17 goals this season, a NWSL record, on their way to a record-breaking 17 wins. Erceg was also voted the recipient of the Leadership Award, given to the player who has shown consistent guidance on and off the field, as her skills were focused on keeping the backline in check. Erceg won 75 percent of her tackles while conceding only eight fouls over 24 games played in the regular season. The New Zealand international also recorded two goals and two assists in 2018. 
The NC Courage voted Denise O’Sullivan as Most Valuable Player on the team. The Cork, Ireland native’s unassuming contribution on the field helped propel the team all the way into the 2018 NWSL Championship for the second consecutive year. While she didn’t record any goals this season, she was very active on both sides of the field, winning 67 percent of her tackles and earning a 78.4 passing success rate. A mainstay in head coach Paul Riley’s box midfield, O’Sullivan recorded three assists and was instrumental in the success of every game she appeared in. 
The Summit Hospitality Community Service Award went to two well deserving players who have distinguished themselves with important work in the community and off the field, Sabrina D’Angelo and McCall Zerboni
Since moving to North Carolina in 2017, D’Angelo has always been at the forefront of community appearances, visiting schools, coaching in clinics and establishing herself as a fan favorite on and off the field. The Welland, Ontario native quickly became a positive role model for young fans in the Triangle with her encouraging can-do attitude.
In 2011 Zerboni started a non-profit foundation called MZ & Emmers Sports Bra Auction for Breast Cancer Awareness, where she auctions off sports bras decorated and autographed by athletes to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. To date they have raised over $60,000 for breast cancer charities. This season, the organization auctioned of autographed pre-game warmup jerseys through the charity’s eBay page. 
The 2018 NWSL Shield winners face Portland Thorns FC on Saturday, September 22, at 4:30 p.m. ET, in the 2018 NWSL Championship, a rematch of last year’s final. The match will be played at Providence Park in Portland, Ore., and broadcast live on Lifetime. 

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