CARY, N.C. (Dec. 22, 2022) – Free agent midfielder Debinha has informed the North Carolina Courage that she will not be returning to the club for the 2023 season. Debinha, who was declared an NWSL free agent by an independent arbitrator earlier this off-season, spent six seasons with the Courage, joining the team in 2017.
“We are extremely sad to see Deb leave and we know she does so as one of the most iconic players in our club’s history. We’ve watched her develop into a national and international superstar over the last half-decade with our club. We made a significant offer and certainly every attempt to keep her here in North Carolina. In our conversations, though, it became clear that – despite a deep love for this club and this community – she finds it in her best interest to continue her professional career elsewhere and we wish her nothing but the best,” said Chief Soccer Officer Curt Johnson.
Debinha appeared in her 100th NWSL regular season match in the 2022 season finale at San Diego. She scored 35 career goals in six seasons, including a career-best 12 in 2022 to earn NWSL First Team Best XI and was an MVP finalist. She also had nine goals in 16 career Challenge Cup games, including five in 2022 to help the Courage claim the Championship.
Debinha, who also had 20 assists across all competitions with the club, was a massive part of the North Carolina Courage’s winning culture – claiming two NWSL Championships, three NWSL Shields, the 2018 ICC Championship and, most recently, the 2022 Challenge Cup title. She was the Most Valuable Player at the 2019 NWSL Championship, delivering the Courage its second straight league title.
“It’s difficult to say goodbye to a club and community that has played such a big part in my life,” said Debinha. “I would like to thank the Courage for six amazing seasons, a time that we achieved so much and set a very high bar for the growth of women’s fútbol. I will always hold my time in North Carolina in a special place and have high regard for Sean, the coaching staff, the entire organization, and all those who helped me develop into the player I am today. I will forever hold dearly my teammates and all we accomplished. I would like thank the amazing fans of the Courage for their unwavering support my entire time in North Carolina. I will forever be grateful for my time with the Courage and I wish the club nothing but success in the future.”
Debinha has not only become a household NWSL name but is one of the biggest international stars as a mainstay for the Brazilian National Team. She appeared in all six 2022 Copa América Femenina contests, making four starts, and scored a team-best five goals. She scored the winner in the championship on a first-half penalty to give Brazil the 1-0 win over Colombia.
Although she was previously signed to a multi-year agreement that included a club option, Debinha was one of several NWSL players that was granted free agency status by an independent arbitrator following the 2022 season as part of the residual decisions surrounding the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Debinha is free to sign with any club in the NWSL or abroad ahead of the 2023 season.