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Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

United States (U.S.) National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) outfit, North Carolina Courage has acquired defender Emily Fox, the first overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft out of the University of North Carolina, from Racing Louisville in a trade that sends defenders Abby Erceg and Carson Pickett to Louisville.

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At 24 years old, Fox has already eclipsed 20 caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) and was most recently on the roster for the team’s January trip to New Zealand.

She started three matches in the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, including the final, which the U.S. won against Canada.

The defender had a successful sophomore NWSL season in 2022, recording a goal and assist while winning nearly 60% of both tackles and duels. Her 82% pass success rate from 2022 fits well with a Courage club that led the league in both total passes and pass percentage a season ago.

She was an NWSL Rookie of the Year finalist in 2021 after leading the entire league in interceptions (45) and logging more minutes than any other rookie.

Fox had a prolific collegiate career with the University of North Carolina, leading her team to College Cup appearances in 2018 and 2019. As a four-year starter for the Tar Heels, Fox paced UNC with 11 assists in 2019, earned three-straight First Team All-ACC honors, and was named a Hermann Trophy semifinalist, all while overcoming two ACL tears in three years.

Erceg came to the Courage when the Western New York Flash were relocated to Cary and served as team captain each of the first six seasons. She played in 115 matches across all competitions for the Courage.


A member of both NWSL Championship teams and winning three NWSL Shields, Erceg’s leadership was invaluable to the early success of the Courage.

Pickett appeared in 56 contests across two seasons with the Courage. She led the NWSL with six assists in 2022 and had 14 between regular season and Challenge Cup play with the Courage after just two across all competitions in her four prior professional seasons.

Pickett played for the Seattle Reign in 2016 and 2017 and spent the next three years with Orlando before joining the Courage in 2021.

The Courage roster is now at 24 players and six defenders: Sydney Collins, Fox, Estelle Johnson, Kaleigh Kurtz, Kiki Pickett, and Ryan Williams.


North Carolina Courage has re-signed forward Brittany Ratcliffe for the 2023 season.

The deal also includes a mutual option for the 2024 season. Ratcliffe joined Courage in 2021 and has been a member of the NWSL since the 2016 season.

Read Also Bettitude Women’s Footballer Of 2022

Ratcliffe appeared in 10 regular season games in 2022, starting three of them, and scored twice with a 75% pass success rate. She appeared in 12 games in 2021, including a pair of starts, and scored a goal.

Ratcliffe was drafted 17th overall by the Boston Breakers in the 2016 NWSL Draft and has played each season since totaling 69 regular season games and 26 starts. She’s netted six goals and added a pair of assists on 51 shots. She played for FC Kansas City in 2017, Utah in 2018 and 2019, and in the 2020 Fall Series before joining the Courage in 2021.

Before her professional career, Ratcliffe was a four-year standout at the University of Virginia, including a pair of All-ACC selections.

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