CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – After a record-breaking four first-round picks in the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League Draft, the North Carolina Courage added another first-rounder to its roster on Monday ahead of the upcoming season.

The Courage acquired 2021 No. 1 overall pick, defender Emily Fox, from Racing Louisville for defenders Abby Erceg and Carson Pickett.

The move brings North Carolina to an even six defensemen overall, as it sees two backend starters exit the team to make room for the former No. 1.

“We cannot thank Carson enough for her time here with us. Upon joining us she had an immediate and sustained impact on both sides of the ball and earned the recognition she deserved both within the league and national team due to her daily commitment to her craft,” head coach Sean Nahas said. “Abby has been a cornerstone of our club since [her] arrival in North Carolina. She was an integral part of our club’s championships over the years and someone who will go down as one of the best in league history.”

But Nahas is also excited for Fox and the mini rebuild of the Courage. He recognized the four first-round picks two weeks ago, and now adding a fifth, is no small feat, especially for a team that finished one spot outside the postseason a season ago.

“We are thrilled to add Emily to our club. She is one of the bright young players in the game who will come in and have an immediate impact,” Nahas said.

Fox, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill native, stood out in her second year in the NWSL winning 60 percent of her tackles and duels with Louisville.

She was also a four-year starter at UNC, earning three First Team All-ACC nods en route to College Cup appearances in 2018 and 2019.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to head back to North Carolina,” Fox said. “Coming from UNC, the Courage were always a team I rooted for and admired. I can’t wait to get to work and represent this club.”

Nahas continued, “She plays multiple positions, maintains wonderful technical quality, and has an attacking mind frame. I know she is excited to be here and can’t wait for everyone to welcome her.”