NWSL: Champion Courage deals 'irreplaceable' Zerboni to Sky Blue FC

The North Carolina Courage traded inspirational midfielder McCall Zerboni to Sky Blue FC in exchange for the rights to Hailie Mace and a conditional fourth round pick in the 2021 NWSL College Draft.

Zerboni, a veteran of all seven NWSL seasons, started out with the Western New York Flash and spent the last three seasons with the Courage, winning NWSL Shields in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2018 and 2019.

Zerboni, 33, also won the 2011 WPS title and 2016 NWSL title with the Flash. She was a Best XI pick in 2017 and 2018 with the Courage and played herself into contention for a berth on the 2019 U.S. World Cup team before being one of the final cuts.

“McCall is irreplaceable and one of the greatest players and humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching and knowing,” Courage coach Paul Riley said in a statement. “She has left a footprint and a legacy in our club that will live forever. She’s a warrior, a thoroughbred and a real footballer. She will be fantastic for Sky Blue and we wish McCall a tremendous future in the sport she has done so much to build.”

Like Zerboni, Mace played for UCLA. She was selected second overall at the 2019 NWSL College Draft by Sky Blue FC but elected to play for first full pro season with Sweden’s FC Rosengard.

Mace was the only college player named to the USA's 20-player roster for the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship.

Photo: Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire

5 comments about "NWSL: Champion Courage deals 'irreplaceable' Zerboni to Sky Blue FC".
  1. R2 Dad, January 11, 2020 at 3:38 p.m.

    I've never seen her play, but for someone so "irreplaceable" how does she only have 9 caps for the USWNT?

  2. Chris Walker replied, January 11, 2020 at 4:41 p.m.

    Because she's a step or two behind Julie Ertz, Sam Mewis, and Allie Long.  

  3. R2 Dad replied, January 12, 2020 at 1:33 a.m.

    Chris, is it a matter of style/technique, or is she literally slower?  Curious what her omission says about USWNT selection criteria.

  4. John Daly, January 13, 2020 at 2:54 p.m.

    USWNT selection which won two World Cups is hard to criticize.

  5. R2 Dad replied, January 13, 2020 at 6 p.m.

    Yes, Jill Ellis & Co. won two World Cups in a row--an unprecidented acheivement. In 2019 we stepped up and the challengers wilted. But the trends are working against us. Ellis is gone. Our most dominant players have retired or at the end of their careers (Solo, Wambach, Rapinoe). The Nats are in dissarray, with what appears to be intent for the ladies programs to follow the path of the discredited men's program. The European leagues are strengthening, with more Americans seeking European experience instead of toiling in NPSL/WPSL Japan, Spain and France all are more technical than our women, with Australia, Canada, Germany and England catching up on athleticism. The old recipe for success won't work going forward. So players that weren't given opportunities in the past might be necessary cogs going forward. The player selection in younger U teams will be critical to giving the "right" players experience and a path forward. Who constitutes "right" 10 years ago may not be enough today but in the mean time we continually winnow down the player pool. When we play CONCACAF teams were are conceded possession, but our strength is really as a counterattacking team. How will our teams play going forward? Given the vast competitive advantages we've had over the rest of the planet, I will not be happy if we just concede possession to the likes of France, Japan and Spain and I want the Nats to know that. Our ladies need to get better in tight spaces, and the player pool should reflect that as a primary requirement. Futsal is the future of the women's game, just as it has been for Brazil on the men's side. But I don't hear anyone in Chicago talking about technical proficiency and Futsal, only business issues, contracts and TV blah blah. 

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications