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The OSC Interview: North Carolina Courage Forward Jessica McDonald

by Fran Stuchbury
April 19, 2018 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - North Carolina Courage

OurSports Central contributor Fran Stuchbury interviewed North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald after she scored the game-winning goal in the Courage's 1-0 victory over Seattle Reign FC at WakeMed Soccer Park Wednesday night.

McDonald, who won a national championship at North Carolina in 2008, has played in the NWSL since the 2013 season and has been part of several teams including the Chicago Red Stars and Seattle Reign FC in 2013, Portland Thorns FC in 2014, the Houston Dash in 2015, and the NWSL champion Western New York Flash in 2016. In 2017 the Flash relocated to became the North Carolina Courage, taking McDonald back to the Tarheel State.

Fran Stuchbury: Take us through the game winning goal.

Jessica McDonald: Forward Kristen Hamilton picked up the ball and whacked it as hard as she could. Lucky me, it came within my vicinity. I just chased the ball down. The last breakaway, I had the ball hit the post; this one I wanted to get the ball in the net. I saw Seattle Reign FC goalkeeper Michelle Betos freeze, and I took my opportunity and scored the goal.

FS: The Courage had many scoring chances: either the ball went wide or hit the post.

JM: Yeah, we kept trying obviously, it's not a good feeling when you do miss because when you hit the post, it's literally a forward's worst nightmare and goalkeeper's best friend. The fact that we kept trying and shooting, eventually one was going to go in. One finally did, and it was kind of a relief.

FS: At college you were part of a national championship team in 2008 for North Carolina; how much of an accomplishment was that?

JM: It was huge, when you go to college one of your goals is to make it to the NCAA Finals. The tournament alone... but to win the national championship, it was a great feeling!

FS: How do you like being coached by North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley? You won a NWSL Championship with him with the Western New York Flash in 2016. Now you're in the second season with the North Carolina Courage with him.

JM: It's so awesome! It's very comforting just because me individually I know what to expect from him as a coach. He knows what to expect from me as player because it's my fourth year with him in total. I have been with him with the Portland Thorns FC in 2014 as well. So, to carry on we have a good relationship; it makes things even better we know what to expect from each other.

FS: How's your experience been bouncing around being part of five different NWSL teams during your career?

JM: It's kind of humbling just because I know at the end of the day that a team at least wants me! Been traded several times; I simply had to make the most of it especially being a mom. I feel that I have a little more to prove. At the end of the day I do love the game of soccer so I think that just kind of led me to the confidence I have today.

FS: You must like that the North Carolina Courage and the other teams in the NWSL are so fan friendly, signing autographs after the game and being involved in the community. You probably have a lot of kids who look up to you!

JM: Yes, most certainly. You always have to set a good example. Especially with me being a mom to my son Jeremiah who was born in 2012 and is now in kindergarten. I know kind of what kids go through; I know what they expect. They see us as super heros almost. It's an amazing smile on their faces and you make their day by giving them a high five.

Images from this story

The North Carolina Courage face Seattle Reign FC
The North Carolina Courage face Seattle Reign FC

(Fran Stuchbury)
The North Carolina Courage pose for a photo
The North Carolina Courage pose for a photo

(Fran Stuchbury)
The North Carolina Courage pregame
The North Carolina Courage pregame

(Fran Stuchbury)

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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.