NC Football Club, Courage making moves on field, front office

Sports

CARY, NC – APRIL 08: Courage’s Kristen Hamilton. The NWSL’s North Carolina Courage played a preseason game against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels on April 8, 2017, at WakeMed Soccer Park Field 3 in Cary, NC. The Courage won the match 1-0. (Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It has been a busy week for the North Carolina Football Club both on and off the field.

NCFC Gets New Faces in Front Office

Friday, the NCFC named Francie Gottsegen as club president and Curt Johnson as chief soccer officer. Joanna Holder has also been hired as the club’s chief people officer.

“I’m thrilled to join the North Carolina Football Club and lead the growth of this best-in-class organization,” Gottsegen said. “It is an honor to guide the club’s front office in elevating the experience for our players, fans and partners. I’m also looking forward to further strengthening the club ties to our community and to our successes ahead.”

Gottsegen is a Durham resident and alumna of Duke University. She brings a wealth of business development and sports marketing experience to the club, as well as a valuable perspective on sponsorships and relationship building.

Most recently, Gottsegen served as the CEO of sports systems at TicketManager Company, delivering guest management and accreditation solutions to numerous Fortune 500 companies.

Courage Add Multiple Position Players

Additionally, the group has been busy on the field as well.

This week the North Carolina Courage signed midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri to a one-year deal with a one-year option following a successful discovery challenge to acquire the midfielder from OL Reign out of Seattle, Washington.

In exchange, OL Reign received the rights to Alyssa Malonson, who was selected by the Courage in the 2021 NWSL Draft.

“Having this opportunity to play for the NC Courage, as well as the coaches and players there, is an absolute dream that I am beyond thankful for,” Tagliaferri said. “Playing in the NWSL, in general, is a huge honor, and has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. Thank you so much to the Courage and all the staff within the club for giving me this opportunity, I can’t wait to get to work.”

A Rutgers University alum and a highly decorated midfielder, Tagliaferri was named to the 2021 All-America First Team, the 2021 All-Region First Team and the 2021 All-Big Ten First Team during her senior year with the Scarlet Knights.

Kurtz Returns to Starting Defensive Line

Furthermore, the Courage didn’t stop there.

The team added defensive depth re-signing defender Kaleigh Kurtz to a one-year contract with the club, also with a one-year option.

“I am looking forward to coming back to the Courage as we continue to move forward as a club,” Kurtz said. “I’m excited to continue solidifying my partnership with (defenseman) Abby Erceg and progressing my career to new heights.”

Kurtz had a breakout year last season, becoming a regular member of the Courage starting lineup and contributing in immense ways defensively. She appeared in 22 matches, all starts, clocking 2,010 minutes and adding 113 clearances, 32 blocks and 44 interceptions throughout the season.

“Bringing Kaleigh back in 2022 was important for us after her breakout year in 2021,” Head Coach Sean Nahas said. “Her focus each day was to be better than the last and having the opportunity each week to step into a starting role helped her development. Her level of confidence was at its highest point of her pro career, and we as a team benefited from that.”

Courage Signs International Forward

The Courage also signed in forward Kerolin Nicoli Israel Ferraz to a three-year contract. The Courage utilized allocation funds to buy out the remainder of her contract with Madrid Club de Fútbol Femenin.

“The addition of Kerolin is one we are really excited about,” Nahas said. “She is a dynamic player who is extremely dangerous in the final third. She is a technically proficient player who will add a lot to our attacking side of the game.”

Kerolin signed with Madrid Club de Fútbol Femenin of the Spanish Primera División during the second half of the 2020-21 season. Across two seasons with the club, she appeared in 24 matches for a total of 1,588 minutes, scoring five goals.

Courage Now Hold Three First-Round Picks

However, the Courage also traded away a well-known name to fans, sending forward Lynn Williams to the Kansas City Current in exchange for $200,000 in allocation money, the rights to goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland and the Current’s natural first round pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft, the club announced today.

Following the trade, the Courage now hold three first-round picks in the 2023 NWSL Draft.

“Since coming to North Carolina, Lynn has represented the Courage jersey with the utmost respect and passion,” Nahas said. “She has given so much to this club, her teammates, the fans, and staff in helping to win titles. More importantly, she has always carried herself with class and she is someone I will truly miss having here.”

Preseason training camp for the Courage opens up Feb. 1.

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