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North Carolina Courage pay tribute to Meredith Speck as she returns from torn ACL

Meredith Speck celebrates while running during North Carolina Courage training.
Photo copyright Katie Schroeck for NC Courage

Deep in stoppage time of the North Carolina Courage’s 1-0 win over the Utah Royals on Friday in National Women’s Soccer League action, the crowd at WakeMed Soccer Park rose in unison and gave an ovation during a substitution.

The player coming off, Ashley Sanchez, had a terrific performance and some of that applause was certainly for her, but the lion’s share this time was for the player replacing her on the field, midfielder Meredith Speck.

Speck made her return to action after missing nearly a full calendar year following a torn ACL sustained last June. The 31-year-old, the Courage’s longest-rostered player and the only holdover from the club’s Western New York Flash days, was welcomed back by a home crowd that has watched her NWSL career progress from deep bench option to starter before her injury last year.

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