Kansas City NWSL and the North Carolina Courage exchanged players. Kansas City traded forward Amy Rodriguez and $60,000 in allocation money to North Carolina in exchange for forward Kristen Hamilton, goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland and midfielder Hailie Mace.
Rodriguez will be missed by Kansas City fans. The 34-year-old team captain provided fiery leadership and was a consistent goal threat. A-Rod scored big goals leading KC Kansas City to back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2014 and 2015.
“I have a huge amount of respect and gratitude for Amy, not just for what she has accomplished on the pitch and for what she means to Kansas City soccer, but for her professionalism and leadership,” said Head Coach Huw Williams said via press release. “These are difficult decisions that almost always come down to timing and circumstances, and in this case, that means giving up a great player to build our team. We wish Amy the best moving forward.”
Courage head coach Paul Riley had nothing but praise for his new forward. “A-Rod is one of the top forwards I’ve coached in my 30 year coaching career. She is masterful and clever in her movements and very tough to contain. Super smart, two very good feet and an appetite for goals. We feel she will be a hugely valuable piece over the next few years. Her sincerity, mentality and work ethic make her a lethal NWSL weapon. Combined with her experience, leadership, and relentless work habits, she will add to our culture and team standards. The fans will love her and they will get to know a player whose hunger and fire to perform and win is more than it’s ever been.”
Kansas City’s new players
Kristen Hamilton – Drafted by the Western New York Flash. She sat out the first season with an ACL injury but over the next two seasons became a regular substitute off the bench. When the team moved to become the North Carolina Courage, Hamilton fulfilled her attacking promise by notching 16 goals and 10 assists in 107 appearances for the Courage.
The 29-year-old striker should be able to fit in right away up top in rotation with Jessica Silva, Darrian Jenkins and Mariana Larroquette.
Katelyn Rowland – The 27-year-old goalkeeper was drafted by FC Kansas City in 2015 where she was a capable backup but was unlikely to beat out veteran Nicole Barnhart. She was traded to Western New York so she could compete for a starting spot. Rowland was a regular starter as the team won championships in 2016, 2018 and 2019. She will compete for the starting spot with Barnhart and an oft injured Abby Smith.
Hailie Mace - Selected second overall in the 2019 NWSL Draft by Sky Blue FC Mace wisely chose to play in Australia and Sweden before returning to the NWSL where Sky Blue traded her to North Carolina. In 15 appearances, the 24-year-old has scored two goals and added an assist in 282 minutes. She can play a variety of spots included defense and up top.
Hamilton and Rowlands both have experience on a highly winning culture from North Carolina and Williams sees that as a valuable addition to his struggling team. Williams expects all the players to be available for when they face North Carolina on Friday.
Rachel Corsie was named co-captain recently and will be the team captain going forward.