CARY, N.C. (Jan. 5, 2023) – The North Carolina Courage and midfielder Brianna Pinto have agreed to a three-year, guaranteed contract to keep the local product in Cary through the 2025 season. Pinto, who is from Durham, North Carolina and was a collegiate standout at the University of North Carolina, was traded to the Courage from Gotham FC prior to the 2022 campaign.
Pinto appeared in 22 matches and made 17 starts for the Courage in 2022, scoring a goal and notching a pair of assists in just under 1,500 minutes of action. The 22-year-old completed 457 passes with an accuracy rate of 82.5% and she was credited with 20 shot-creating actions. Pinto was drafted third overall by Gotham FC in the 2021 NWSL Draft and spent her first pro season with them before the Courage sent allocation money to bring her back to the Triangle.
“Brianna is a shining example of the home-grown model of professional soccer. She played in the NC Courage Youth Academy, then stayed in the area for college to compete at the highest level and now continues to make an impact in her home community as a professional athlete. She’s an extremely talented player with a ton of potential and is a true role model for girls playing youth soccer in the area,” said Chief Soccer Officer Curt Johnson.
“I am beyond excited to return to my hometown club and grow with the NC Courage over the next three years. This world-class environment has an incredible staff that pushes each player to their potential. I love North Carolina because it has developed me into the person and player I have become today,” Pinto said. “I am incredibly grateful to our supporters, ownership group, team, and staff for their unwavering commitment to helping us climb back to the top of the NWSL. I encourage everyone in the Triangle and state to support the North Carolina Courage during our 2023 campaign. See you all in Cary!”
“Extending Brianna was important to us. Someone who adjusted well into our system and style of play. We know the future is bright for BP and we are glad she will have the opportunity to grow and develop here with us in NC, her home and someone who has had a lasting impact in our community. We look forward to seeing her again in Courage kit and be a part of our continued growth process,” said head coach Sean Nahas.
Pinto has become the first member of the NC Courage Youth Academy to later play for the NWSL club. She also has longstanding experience in the USWNT youth system. She was called into the U-23 Camp in January 2022, played up a year during the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan and was two years younger than the age cut-off during the 2018 U-20 WWC in France, starting every match in both tournaments.
She made 73 appearances for UNC from 2018-2021, scoring 31 goals for her Tar Heel career. She was named a finalist for the Mac Hermann Trophy in 2021 and a semifinalist for the award in 2019, earning US Soccer Young Female Player of the Year that same year.
Pinto’s re-signing brings the Courage roster to 19 active players and seven midfielders, joining Malia Berkely, Tess Boade, Emily Gray, Denise O’Sullivan, Meredith Speck and Frankie Tagliaferri.