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‘Shocked and disappointed’: Abby Erceg traded away from North Carolina Courage

North Carolina Courage captain Abby Erceg lifts the NWSL trophy after winning the 2019 final.

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North Carolina Courage captain Abby Erceg lifts the NWSL trophy after winning the 2019 final.

Abby Erceg has penned an emotional letter to North Carolina Courage fans, saying she is “shocked and disappointed” after being traded from the National Women’s Soccer League club she won two championships with as captain.

The former Football Ferns star has been sent to Racing Louisville along with Courage teammate and off-field partner Carson Pickett, with current United States international Emily Fox heading in the other direction.

Erceg retired from international duty in order to concentrate on her club commitments in the US after playing 146 times for New Zealand, giving up the chance to represent her country at a home World Cup.

After signing as a foundation player in 2017, the 33-year-old centre-back went on to play 115 games across all competitions for the Courage.

She led the club to two NWSL championships in 2018 and 2019 and three NWSL Shields for first-place regular season finishes in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Erceg stuck by the club during their darkest period, when coach Paul Riley was fired in 2021 following allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Courage country my heart breaks a little today and believe me when I say I am as shocked and disappointed as you are,” Erceg wrote on social media following the announcement of her trade.

“The intention to see out my career with a club in which I have so many fantastic memories comes to an end, as that intention is unfortunately not a shared one.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

US women’s footballers talk to media in the lead up to their matches against the Football Ferns.

“I gave this club everything I had through the good times and bad so I leave with my head held high and I hope I led your team in a way that you were proud of.

“Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

“Now, I look forward to investing my efforts into a club with whom I already have a shared vision.”

Courage coach Sean Nahas paid tribute to his outgoing captain and Erceg would go down as one of the greatest players in the club’s short history.

“Abby has been a cornerstone of our club since her arrival in North Carolina. She was an integral part of our club’s championships over the years and someone who will go down as one of the best in league history,” Nahas said.

“We cannot thank her enough for everything she gave to our club, our fans, and community over the years. She sets the standard daily to make her who she is: one of the greats.”

Erceg did not address her international retirement.

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