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It’s undeniable now: The North Carolina Courage are in a full-blown rebuild

North Carolina tried to deny it in 2022, but after losing Debinha and Diana Ordóñez in another turbulent offseason, the Courage need to find answers in new places this season.

© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the North Carolina Courage refused to accept the idea that they are in a rebuild. In 2023, that status is undeniable. 

The franchise missed the playoffs for the first time since moving to North Carolina in 2017, arguably a low point for the three-time champions (dating back to the Western New York Flash days).

Last season was supposed to be North Carolina’s rebuild after the departures of core players — Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Jessica McDonald, Sam Mewis, and Lynn Williams. 

Despite the loss of those big names ahead of last season, the Courage still managed to retain players that accounted for nearly 67% of their 2021 regular season minutes played. And they won the NWSL Challenge Cup early in the season, providing tangible evidence to support their argument that everything was just fine.

Heading into preseason this time around, however, North Carolina only returned players that accounted for 56% of their 2022 regular-season minutes. That’s way below the National Women’s Soccer League average and second-to-last of all teams. The Courage also lost half of their 2022 goal-scoring production with two major player exits.

What happened to North Carolina’s roster?

Some of the biggest NWSL stories this offseason featured the Courage, but they were often on the wrong end of the news. 

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