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2017 NWSL College Draft Preview: North Carolina Courage

JJ Duke takes a look at what the North Carolina Courage might (and should) do in the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft. New name, same great squad: This is the squad formerly known as the Western New York Flash, defending league champions.

Draft Picks

2, 7, 18

Offseason Moves


  • Rosana (acquired rights from Houston Dash)
  • Debina (signing; last club was Dalian Quanjian in China)


  • Janice Cayman (waived)

Possible Draft Day Activity Level

The North Carolina Courage announced their arrival just days before the draft after team owner Stephen Malik purchased and will relocate the reigning NWSL championship side from Western New York. As part of the announcement, all contracted players under the Flash will be inherited by the newly formed team. As such, the Courage get a championship-winning side, along with a pair of picks in the first round. Life is pretty good at the moment for those in the Triangle region of North Carolina. The only burning question at the moment is who is going to coach this team?

What the Courage Need

It’s the million-dollar question. What is there to improve on when you’re the champ? But that’s the making of a real champion. And depth in defense and a right back will help the Courage on their quest to defend their title.

Potential Targets

In terms of a local product, the No. 2 overall pick should go to Christina Gibbons. She was one of the most underrated players in her class coming into college and her game just continued to rise throughout her years at Duke. This pick is a no-brainer. She can do it all as a defender and can get into the attack as well.

In terms of forwards, Ashley Hatch of BYU, Stephanie Ribeiro of UConn, and Harvard’s Midge Purce are all bona fide goal scorers with good pace and the know-how to find and create space in and around the box. Any one of these three forwards will be available at second overall and nearly all should still be on the board when the Courage pick again at seven. With their late pick, again, the Courage should stay local and choose from the crop of players already around. Darcy McFarlane was very versatile in her time at North Carolina and can play both in the midfield and in defense, making her a solid pick to end the day for the “newcomers.”