NWSL: Governor Cooper touts Carolina owner's Courage

After an absence of more than a decade, women's pro soccer is back in North Carolina. Steve Malik's North Carolina FC bought out the 2016 NWSL champion Western New York Flash and has moved it to Cary, where it will be known as North Carolina Courage, taking its name from the 2002 WUSA champion Carolina Courage.

Roy Cooper, installed as North Carolina governor on Jan. 1, made national headlines with his order last week to expand federal Medicaid to 500,000 residents.

Now he turned to economic development.

“This is my first economic development announcement, Cooper said at Monday's press conference. "Sports can bring money to the pockets of people in North Carolina.”

The new came a month after Malik, who bought the NASL's RailHawks in 2015, announced plans to bid for an MLS expansion team and bring an NWSL team by the 2018 season. The Courage will arrive a year early.

“The name of this team is apt," said Cooper, "because Steve Malik has shown courage in bringing this team and doing what he has done for soccer in North Carolina."

The move to Cary, where the Courage will play at WakeMed Soccer Park during the 2017 NWSL season, follows the loss of the 2016 Women's College Cup and 2017 NCAA Division I women's lacrosse finals due to the fallout over HB2.

All Flash players are now the property of the Courage. NCFC general manager Curt Johnson will jump right into the fray when he attends the 2017 NWSL College Draft in Los Angeles.

No decision has been made on a coach. Paul Riley coached the Flash to its first NWSL championship in 2016. It previously won W-League, WPS and WPSL Elite in a nine-year run that began in Buffalo.
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