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Courage, Kansas City swap first-round picks in pre-NWSL Draft trade

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The North Carolina Courage announced Thursday that they have signed Malia Berkely to a two-year contract.

The club acquired the defender’s discovery rights as well as the 12th pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft from Kansas City in exchange for the club’s 2022 natural first round draft pick — No. 7. They then agreed to a transfer with FC Girondins de Bordeaux that involved allocation money for the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

“I am super excited to be a part of this club considering the legacy North Carolina has,” Berkely said in a release. “I know it will be a place for me to grow as a player and person, and I am happy to be able to compete with and against amazing athletes. I can’t wait to get started!”

A Florida State graduate, Berkely joined Bordeaux in January and has been playing in France ever since. While at FSU, Berkely made 84 appearances, recording four goals and fourteen assists.

“We are extremely excited about the addition of Malia,” Head Coach Sean Nahas said. “She was someone we identified as a top player after her collegiate career. She brings great understanding and patience to the game, and is an incredibly technical and proficient passer of the ball. She is someone who wants to be challenged and get better everyday, and nowhere better to do that than here in NC. Our staff is really excited to have her and we look forward to working with her soon.”

It’s not the first trade between the Courage and Kansas City during the offseason. Late November saw USWNT star midfielder Sam Mewis get sent to the Current from North Carolina in exchange for defender Kiki Pickett and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft.