CARY, N.C. (Nov. 20, 2023) – The North Carolina Courage have completed a trade with NWSL expansion club Utah Royals FC to receive protection in the upcoming NWSL Expansion Draft and $30,000 in allocation money. In exchange, Utah Royals FC will receive midfielders Emily Gray and Frankie Tagliaferri. The trade was executed prior to the close of the trade window on Sunday and announced jointly by the clubs on Monday.
“Emily and Frankie are great soccer players and even better people, and we are grateful for their contributions to our club over the last two seasons. This was a difficult decision that we did not take lightly. We wish them both all the best going forward,” said Chief Soccer Officer Curt Johnson.
Gray was the third overall pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft out of Virginia Tech. The Sewell, New Jersey native appeared in seven matches and made four starts between Challenge Cup and regular season action as a rookie, helping the Courage to the 2022 Challenge Cup title. She missed the 2023 season with a torn ACL.
Gray became the highest draft pick in Virginia Tech history after 69 appearances for the Hokies over four years, leading the team to three NCAA tournament appearances. She finished her collegiate career tied for fourth in program history for goals (27) and second for assists (24), earning All-ACC honors twice.
Tagliaferri appeared in 19 matches over her two seasons with the Courage, logging a pair of goals and two assists. She helped the Courage to back-to-back Challenge Cup championships, the first time a club had accomplished the feat.
She started college career with Penn State, playing four years for the Nittany Lions with 90 appearances, including 64 starts, 5,722 minutes, 27 goals and 26 assists. After an illustrious career, she transferred to Rutgers for a fifth season where she started 25 games, scoring 13 goals and assisting nine goals to lead the Scarlett Knights to the NCAA Final Four.
Her decorated collegiate career saw her garner 2021 All-America First Team, 2019-20 All-America Second Team, 2021 Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and three All-Big Ten First Team honors.
The Courage now have protection from one of the two expansion franchises for the upcoming NWSL Expansion Draft, which takes place on December 15. Stay up to date with roster news, schedule updates, club news, and more on the web at www.nccourage.com and on social media @TheNCCourage.