nwsl

Every NWSL team should be fighting for Debinha in free agency


Published: 11/15/22
Debinha

Please understand that this lament has nothing to do with ‘get off my lawn,’ but, there are too many GOATs. It’s a fun and funny word to say, so I don’t mind, but when it comes to a designation, it’s a bit watered down. Spicy chicken nuggs can be, and are, goated, but that leaves us with one fewer mechanism to describe elite talent. In soccer, this is where everyone’s favorite homicidal purple uncle, Thanos, comes in: inevitable. Debinha is inevitable.

What this breaks down to in a soccer sense is not just a pure goalscorer, but someone with a variety of skills that makes them impossible to defend. These rare players get to enter the exclusive club of the inevitable, and where Debinha has a permanent residency.

Debinha entered the NWSL in 2017 and, according to FBref, has played in 100 regular season matches (89 starts). In these matches, she has 35 goals and 17 assists. The nice round 100 number makes the math pretty simple: the Brazilian has been one of the most consistent attacking forces in the league. But it’s still far from the whole story.

She’s helped North Carolina win the NWSL Shield three times, an NWSL Championship twice, and this season, the Courage were Challenge Cup Champions. More specifically, in 2019 Debinha was named NWSL Championship MVP after tormenting Chicago for 90 minutes in a 4-0 win, and she’s been named MVP of the last two NWSL Challenge Cup tournaments.

With 2022 being her highest single goalscoring season yet (12), she isn’t slowing down. Now that she’s a free agent, every single team in the league should be vying for her signature.

Debinha has an exceptional combination of balance, speed, awareness, vision, deception and soccer IQ. She’s one of the most direct players in the league, but has all the tools to keep defenses terrified of which she’ll use to get there. It’s more than her energy, though she has enough to resuscitate a dying star, it’s every other tool at her disposal and the immediacy with which she can call on any of them. Awkward angles and weird bounces mean nothing to her. She can plot doom in an instant, from nearly any scenario.

In fact, that’s enough typing. This is the internet and videos exist, so let’s take a minute to watch one of her highlight reels.

If you watched until the end you saw the kicker. If you didn’t, you are bad at following directions but also you will have missed that the highlights were from just one single month! A season’s worth of highlights for a good player is just a month’s worth of work to Debinha.

Though every team in the NWSL should be doing their damnedest to give their best pitch to Debinha, it’s North Carolina who should be trying the hardest. Having been blessed with Debinha terrorizing defenses on their behalf since 2017, they know more than anyone that inevitability is a joy to have, and impossible to replace.


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