CARY, N.C. (July 27, 2023) – The North Carolina Courage have acquired midfielder Manaka Matsukubo on loan from Mynavi Sendai of the Japanese WE League for an agreed upon fee. Manaka’s acquisition occurred within the summer transfer window and she will join the team upon receipt of a P-1 Visa.
The teenager, who will turn 19 this Friday, scored four goals and provided an assist in 12 matches as a first-year professional in the 2022-23 WE League season, helping Mynavi Sendai to a fourth-place finish. She made her professional debut on March 5, 2023, playing 85 minutes. She played the full 90 in each of her subsequent appearances for 1,075 on the season. She also has extensive experience in the JFA youth system, making appearances as high as the U-20 level throughout her career.
“We are very excited to add another young talent to the team. Manaka is one of the young up and coming talents in world football. A player with a simple approach to the game and ability to unlock opposition through the thirds. A technically proficient talent who will help add depth to our roster and continue to help prepare us for the future. Our style of play suits her and we cannot wait for her to arrive here in NC and be a part of our club. It’s another great day here in Courage country,” said Courage head coach Sean Nahas.
Matsukubo will remain on loan through June 2024. The Courage have retained the option to transfer the midfielder’s playing rights to the club on a permanent basis following the loan period. The Courage now have 25 players on their active roster, including four on National Team Replacement Contracts, and are using all six available international spots. The Courage also have three players on the season-ending injury list and six on international duty.