NC Courage, professional women’s soccer, to play in Cary – News & Observer
North Carolina F.C. owner Steve Malik continued to break down soccer barriers in the Triangle Monday, announcing the acquisition of the Western New York Flash, which will be renamed the North Carolina Courage.
North Carolina governor Roy Cooper made an appearance at the press conference, held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
“We, in North Carolina, are an epicenter for sports,” Cooper said. “This is my first economic development announcement … sports can bring money to the pockets of people in North Carolina.”
The Western New York Flash won its first National Women’s Soccer League Championship Oct. 9, 2015, after defeating the Washington Spirit.
The entire Flash roster will be members of the Courage, including five players who were recently called to the U.S. Women’s National Team training camp: Lynn Williams, Jess McDonald, Samantha Mewis, Jaelene Hinkle and Taylor Smith.
Sabrina D’Angelo, the goalkeeper for the Canadian National Team, is also a notable centerpiece to the roster.
The name is a nod to the Carolina Courage, a club founded in 2001 that played three seasons. Despite solid attendance numbers, league issues resulted in the original women’s club’s demise.
This is the first time in the Triangle’s history that it will field both men’s and women’s professional teams.
WakeMed Soccer Park will have a busy summer as the home to North Carolina F.C. as it competes in the North American Soccer League and the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League.
It’s unclear how many matches North Carolina F.C. will host after the NASL – which was on the verge of collapse during the offseason – added an expansion club and had five clubs exit the league.
The NWSL is a 10-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from around the world.
Last year, each NWSL club hosted 10 regular season games, a number that’ll likely stay the same unless the league adds teams via expansion. The league average for attendance per game last year was 5,558, though it’s skewed by the Portland Thorns F.C.’s 16,945.
Malik, who recently rebranded the Carolina RailHawks as North Carolina F.C., has announced his intention to gain entry into Major League Soccer, which would require a new or expended stadium.