|Founded||January 9, 2017|
|Stadium||Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park|
Cary, North Carolina
|General manager||Curt Johnson|
|Interim head coach||Sean Nahas|
|League||National Women's Soccer League|
|2019||Regular season: 1st|
|Active teams of North Carolina FC|
The North Carolina Courage is a professional women's soccer team based in Cary, North Carolina. It was founded in 2017 after Stephen Malik acquired National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) franchise rights from the Western New York Flash. The Courage is affiliated with the men's team North Carolina FC of the United Soccer League and plays its home games at the Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
In 2018, the Courage became the first team in NWSL history to win the Shield and the Championship in the same season. In 2019, the team became the first team to win the Championship on its home field.
See also: Western New York Flash
The North Carolina Courage relocated to Cary, NC in 2017 from Western New York. The team played the Washington Spirit for their first match and defeated the team 1–0 with a goal by McCall Zerboni. The Courage went on to win the 2017 NWSL Shield and advanced to the 2017 NWSL Championship after defeating the Chicago Red Stars 1–0 in the NWSL Semifinal. The team fell 1–0 to the Portland Thorns in the 2017 NWSL Championship.
In 2018, the Courage had the best season in NWSL history, losing just one of 26 games played during the season. The Courage also participated in and won first place in the inaugural Women's International Champions Cup. Heather O'Reilly scored the only goal in the defeat over Olympique Lyon. After clinching the NWSL Shield, the team defeated the Portland Thorns in the 2018 NWSL Championship 3–0. Jessica McDonald was named the NWSL Championship MVP after scoring two goals in the match.
The Courage were crowned NWSL Champions for the second consecutive season after defeating the Chicago Red Stars, 4–0 in the 2019 NWSL Championship held in Cary, North Carolina. Debinha was named the NWSL Championship MVP after scoring the fastest goal in NWSL Championship history. The team clinched the NWSL Shield for the third time in as many years on Saturday, September 21 after defeating Utah Royals FC. The team had an overall record of 15W-4D-5L.
On January 28, 2021, it was announced that professional tennis player Naomi Osaka had made an investment in the team. Osaka stated that she was inspired to take part ownership by those who had invested in her during her career, and that she wishes to "continue the legacy of women empowerment."
On September 30, 2021, the club fired head coach Paul Riley after news of prior sexual abuse allegations emerged against him.
The team's name is a nod to the original Carolina Courage – who won the 2002 Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) Founders Cup – as is the stylized lioness image, which matches the head of the lioness on the WUSA team's badge with very minor alterations. The badge features elements from the flag of North Carolina with both the star and the color scheme, the latter keeping in line with the NCFC brand. The lower right point of the star represents the Research Triangle, a geographical region that includes Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. The Courage's primary colors include "Atlantic blue", "cardinal red," and "Southern gold."
|2017||Nike||BlueCross BlueShield of NC|
Main article: WakeMed Soccer Park
The North Carolina Courage play their home games at WakeMed Soccer Park, a soccer-specific stadium shared by North Carolina FC, a team in the United Soccer League also owned by Stephen Malik.
The soccer complex consists of a purpose-built main stadium, two lighted practice fields, and four additional fields. The main stadium and the 2 lighted fields (2 & 3) are all FIFA international regulation size (120 yards x 75 yards). The main stadium seats 10,000 with the expansions of 2012. Field 2 also has 1,000 permanent bleacher seats.
The park is on 150 acres (0.61 km2) that the State of North Carolina has leased to Wake County. Money to build the soccer park came from $14.5 million in county-wide hotel room and prepared food and beverage taxes. The Town of Cary assumed responsibility for operations and maintenance in 2004 from Capital Area Soccer League. On January 26, 2006, the Town of Cary council amended its lease to allow it to sublet the property to Triangle Professional Soccer through the year 2011 for the exclusive promotion of professional soccer and lacrosse events at the complex. This deal was extended for the new ownership group through 2014.
On December 6, 2016, along with a name change, North Carolina FC announced plans for a stadium seating 24,000.
|Season||NWSL Regular Season||Position||NWSL Playoffs||Top Scorer|
|1||GK||Casey Murphy||United States|
|2||DF||Taylor Smith||United States|
|3||DF||Kaleigh Kurtz||United States|
|4||DF||Carson Pickett||United States|
|5||MF||Sam Mewis||United States|
|6||DF||Abby Erceg (captain)||New Zealand|
|7||DF||Diane Caldwell||Republic of Ireland|
|8||MF||Denise O'Sullivan||Republic of Ireland|
|9||FW||Lynn Williams||United States|
|11||DF||Merritt Mathias||United States|
|12||FW||Amy Rodriguez||United States|
|13||DF||Ryan Williams||United States|
|14||FW||Jessica McDonald||United States|
|15||DF||Schuyler DeBree||United States|
|21||MF||Cari Roccaro||United States|
|22||DF||Hailey Harbison||United States|
|24||MF||Peyton Perea||United States|
|25||MF||Meredith Speck||United States|
|27||FW||Brittany Ratcliffe||United States|
|29||FW||Rylee Baisden||United States|
|30||DF||Kendall Fletcher||United States|
|42||GK||Samantha Murphy||United States|
|Interim head coach||Sean Nahas|
|Assistant coach||Scott Vallow|
|Assistant coach||Nathan Thackeray|
|Assistant coach||Bill Paladino|
|Assistant coach||Emma Thomson|
In 2019, the NWSL broadcast partnership with A&E was terminated a year early, all games would be streamed on Yahoo! Sports in the United States and on the NWSL website for international viewers.
In 2018, Courage games continued to be streamed on Go90, the NWSL website and select games were broadcast on Lifetime. After Go90 was shut down by Verizon on July 30, all games were available for streaming on the NWSL website.
In 2017, Courage games were streamed exclusively by Go90 for American audiences and via the NWSL website for international viewers. As part of a three-year agreement with A&E Networks, Lifetime broadcasts one NWSL Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons. In 2017 season, the Courage were featured in national Lifetime NWSL Game of the Week broadcasts on June 3, July 1, August 19, and July 15, 2017.