The North Carolina Courage have traded Elizabeth Eddy to Sky Blue FC in exchange for McKenzie Meehan, the team announced on Tuesday morning. The move was unexpected after Eddy had spent the last three years with the Courage and with Paul Riley at the Western New York Flash before that. With all eyes focused firmly on the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, this news brought focus briefly back to the National Women’s Soccer League as they resume play this weekend.
Returning to her drafting team
Liz Eddy has been a member of the Courage since their inception, but she has struggled with injuries and has been generally unable to break into the stacked Courage lineup. Eddy played college at USC where she made 77 appearances and scored 16 goals from 2010 to 2013. When the NWSL got started, Eddy did not immediately join the league. She was drafted by Sky Blue FC in 2014 with the 33rd selection, but she did not play a game for the team. Instead, Eddy opted to remain at USC to finish her studies and finish her final year of lacrosse. In November of 2014, the Flash traded the rights to Sam Kerr for the fourth-overall selection in the 2015 NWSL College Draft and Eddy. That pick would turn into Sam Mewis.
Over the next two years, Eddy was a consistent player for the Flash. She played in most games of 2015 as a substitute, but she started every game for new head coach Paul Riley in 2016. The Flash would go on to win the 2016 NWSL Championship with Eddy starting on the defensive line. Unfortunately, Eddy was injured for much of her time after the team moved the North Carolina. She made two appearances for the team in 2017 for a total of 26 minutes and two more appearances in 2018.
The most memorable moment for Eddy as a member of the Courage came this season in the May 19th match against Utah Royals FC. After going down early in the match, North Carolina was trailing when Eddy hit the pitch as a substitute. With just 13 minutes left in the game, Eddy scored a banger to draw the Courage level with Utah and save the game.
Eddy will be deeply missed. In my conversations with Courage players, Eddy is one of the strongest embodiments of the Courage mentality, and she is frequently mentioned by her fellow teammates as one of the kindest and most inviting players on the team.
Who is McKenzie Meehan?
Here’s an interesting stat about Eddy’s replacement. As a high school player at La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island, Meehan scored 181 goals and added 29 assists for her high school team. She then attended Boston College and scored 58 goals in 88 appearances. It seems like she might just have a nose for goal; something that the Courage are in desperate need of right now.
Despite her pedigree, Meehan was drafted with the 34th pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft, and she made just seven appearances and totaled 239 minutes in her rookie season. In 2018 she made 11 appearances and she has played just three times for 14 minutes this year. There is clearly something disconnected between Meehan’s play style and the Sky Blue front office, but hopefully she is able to add something big to the Courage. She will definitely be given a chance to prove herself, but we should approach this acquisition with cautious optimism. Many players struggle to reach the required fitness level with the Courage, and it feels like the team is grasping at straws by adding more forwards to a stable of players that don’t seem capable of producing right now.
Meehan will be battling with Julia Spetsmark and Leah Pruitt for playing time at the top of the Courage formation unless Riley has a plan of changing her position. She could end up playing at the 10 instead of the 11.
The Courage play at home on Saturday, June 15th against Portland Thorns FC. We’ll have to see whether she’s in the 18 just four days after being traded.