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‘I’m going to thrive here’: Ashley Sanchez is moving forward

After a shocking trade by the Spirit, the USWNT attacker is ready to restart in North Carolina

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

‘I’m going to thrive here’: Ashley Sanchez is moving forward

Sitting under the clear, warm skies and soaring palm trees at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, North Carolina Courage forward Ashley Sanchez says she feels like a rookie again. It’s early February and Sanchez is digesting as much information as she can about her new team, one which, a month earlier, was one of her rivals in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Sanchez was the headliner in a blockbuster trade on draft day, an event that always brings some kind of league-wide shakeup. North Carolina traded $250,000 in allocation money and the fifth overall pick to the Washington Spirit for the U.S. international. Sanchez wrote on her Instagram the next day that she was “shocked and heartbroken” to leave her first professional club. A few weeks later, however, she finds herself more at peace with the change.

“I think it’s still a process,” Sanchez said, speaking to The Equalizer last month. “It’s been hard because everything just happened so fast and everyone knew about it pretty much immediately, so that stopped the processing almost immediately because people are coming at me trying to figure out how this happened, what happened, and I still didn’t even know what was going on. Then, in the next week, you’re in a new place with a whole different team. [I’m] definitely adjusting but every day has been easier.”

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