The North Carolina Courage and Kansas City will face off tomorrow night. However, before the contest, a few players will be wearing different jerseys. Amy Rodriguez was traded to North Carolina on Thursday, while the Courage sent Kristen Hamilton, Hailie Mace and Katelyn Rowland to KC.
In addition to Rodriguez, the Courage will receive $60,000 in allocation money.
Rodriguez has scored twice for Kansas City in 10 appearances this season. The 2015 World Cup champion came to Kansas City after the dissolving of the Utah Royals, where she remained from 2018-20. Paul Riley, head coach of the Courage, said Rodriguez is one of the top forwards that he has ever coached in his career. The two worked together in WPS with the Philadelphia Independence in 2010 and 2011.
“She is masterful and clever in her movements and very tough to contain,” Riley said. “Super smart, two very good feet and an appetite for goals. We feel she will be a hugely valuable piece over the next few years. Her sincerity, mentality and work ethic make her a lethal NWSL weapon. Combined with her experience, leadership, and relentless work habits, she will add to our culture and team standards. The fans will love her and they will get to know a player whose hunger and fire to perform and win is more than it’s ever been.”
Meanwhile, Kansas City head coach Huw Williams said he has great “respect” and “gratitude” for Rodriguez.
“I have a huge amount of respect and gratitude for Amy, not just for what she has accomplished on the pitch and for what she means to Kansas City soccer, but for her professionalism and leadership,” Williams said. “These are difficult decisions that almost always come down to timing and circumstances, and in this case, that means giving up a great player to build our team. We wish Amy the best moving forward.”
Kansas City — still looking for its first NWSL regular-season victory — gained reinforcements with Rowland in goal, Hamilton on the attack and Mace in the midfield. Rowland featured in one game this season, and her departure moves up Sam Murphy to the No. 2 goalkeeper spot in North Carolina. Meanwhile, Mace has started in two of her 10 appearances, while Hamilton has scored one goal in 10 appearances, starting five matches.
“[Hailie] has the ability to make a major impact in this league and I’m convinced she will do it,” Riley said. “Her strength, power and soccer intelligence puts her in good stead to be a huge contributor in Kansas City. We want to thank [Hailie] for the effort, time and commitment to the club and wish her tremendous success in her new endeavor.”
Riley said that Hamilton and Rowland were integral to the club winning multiple NWSL Shield titles and Championships with the Courage.
“They are the epitome of what class, culture and selflessness brings to a team,” Riley said. “Yes, they have won a lot but I will remember the amazing contribution they made to my life. The privilege of coaching players of this ability and commitment is beyond anything you can imagine. Their development and maturity has been awesome to watch. Fabulous people and players that will continue to hone their skills at the highest level. Massive thanks for both for what they have given our club, our team, our city and our supporters. We wish them continued success and I look forward to coaching them again some place, sometime.”
“We’re excited to welcome Kristen, Katelyn and Hailie to the club,” Williams said. “These are three dynamic players who can provide immediate impact for us. We are looking forward to quickly putting them in positions to contribute.”
The two sides will face off Friday in Kansas City, kicking off at 8 p.m. on Twitch/Twitch Global.
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