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North Carolina trades Jessica McDonald to Louisville for No. 6 pick

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The NWSL trade wheel kept spinning ahead of the 2022 College Draft, with Racing Louisville FC acquiring North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald on Friday in exchange for the No. 6 overall pick in Saturday’s draft.

The deal came on the heels of Racing Louisville sending forward Savannah McCaskill to Angel City FC in exchange for the No. 6 pick and $25,000 in allocation money. Louisville then flipped that pick to the Courage for McDonald.

“We are thrilled to have Jess join us in Louisville,” said James O’Connor, Racing Louisville’s executive vice president of development. “She is an outstanding person, and her record of scoring goals and achieving at the highest level is something that will help our team. Jess brings with her a wealth of experience as well as an incredible mentality to our team.”

McDonald will now suit up for a record seventh NWSL club after being a part of the Courage since 2016. The U.S. women’s national team forward has also had stints in Houston, Portland, Seattle, Western New York and Chicago.

McDonald, 33, currently ranks first in NWSL all-time assists with 27 and fourth in goals with 51. She’s been on a trio of NWSL Shield teams (2017-19) and won three NWSL championships with the Western New York Flash in 2016 and the Courage in 2018 and ’19. She was named MVP of the 2018 championship game after scoring twice to lead North Carolina past the Portland Thorns.

“My son and I are very excited for this new adventure in Louisville,” McDonald said. “I will give this program my best and hope to make the biggest impact I possibly can on and off the field. Thanks for taking a chance on me, Louisville.”

McDonald also won a World Cup championship with the USWNT in 2019. It was recently announced that McDonald will be inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.

In a separate deal Friday, the Courage sent defender Julia Ashley to the Houston Dash in exchange for a second-round pick in Saturday’s college draft.