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North Carolina Courage 2024 NWSL draft recap

By Tyler Trent



Talia Staude poses with a Courage scarf after being selected (Photo courtesy of NC Courage)

After a night filled with twists and turns, the 2024 NWSL Draft ended a little before 1 am EST. The Courage entered the night with five picks and ended the night with four new players Ashley Sanchez, Talia Staude, Julia Dorsey, and Landy Mertz.

 

Here’s what you can expect from each player in the 2024 NWSL season.

 

Ashley Sanchez


All graphics courtesy of the North Carolina Courage


Prior to the draft starting, reports started to come through that the Courage had traded the fifth overall pick and $250,000 in allocation money to the Washington Spirit in exchange for attacking midfielder Ashley Sanchez. The Courage also gave up their tenth overall pick in exchange for allocation money which was used to fund the trade with the Spirit. While the price may seem high initially, the Courage are getting a great player that will be crucial to the team's success with Kerolin out to begin the season. Looking to the past, the deals that put the Courage in the position to make this trade in the first place make the deal look like excellent business by the Courage.



Sanchez will come into the Courage as a great offensive weapon with a fiery attacking style that fans will love. While it remains to be seen what position she might play for the Courage, I think it’s most likely we will see her up top in a Tess Boade-style role, or we will see a new formation altogether for the team.

 

Talia Staude



After trading away both the fifth and tenth picks in the draft, the Courage made their first selection at pick number 24. University of Virginia defender Natalia (Talia) Staude became the first 2024 draft class member for the Courage. Staude primarily played as a left centerback at UVA and made a huge impression as a player capable of contributing to the attack from the back with a strong passing skillset. This is a perfect match on paper for the Courage as a Malia Berkely backup with a similar skill set.

 

Julia Dorsey



The Courage traded the 38th overall pick to the Houston Dash for $10,000 in allocation money and a pick two back at 40th overall. With that pick, the Courage selected Julia Dorsey. Adding another local to the roster is always important to the fans, and Dorsey is a sleeper pick after missing the 2023 season due to injury. Capable of playing both centerback and right back, Dorsey provides a good backup option for Kurtz and Williams. As a two-sport athlete at UNC with soccer and lacrosse, Dorsey can provide quality minutes for the team, making great use of her speed, athleticism, and physicality.

 

Landy Mertz



With their final pick, the Courage selected the right winger of Pittsburgh, Landy Mertz. Mertz will be a solid backup winger for the squad, capable of filling in and providing a spark on the bench. She was part of a strong attacking unit at Pittsburgh that has set the school on an excellent path forward. Mertz ended her final season with her best numbers at four goals and 14 assists in 24 matches. Mertz is an excellent crosser from wide areas and is able to pick out teammates after using her pace and skills to beat defenders.


Summary


Overall, the Courage had a good draft that addressed depth needs in the squad. While it's unlikely the three draftees will walk directly into starting positions in the team, they are all very solid players with high potential who will be able to learn and adapt without immediate pressure and contribute to the success of the squad.


The signing of Ashley Sanchez will be a massive point in any potential success this season for the Courage. An undeniably strong attacking talent, that has sometimes been criticized for her defensive work, Sanchez will be expected to be a crucial piece in the Courage system.


Be on the lookout for more coverage of the latest North Carolina Courage players from TopBin90, including play-style analysis and off-the-pitch features soon.