Charlotte Female Athletes to Keep an Eye on This Summer

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Summer can feel slow in the sports sphere. However, there is plenty of action taking place in and around Charlotte, with connections that extend beyond North Carolina. Keep an eye on these female athletes in basketball and soccer as things heat up.

Women’s National Basketball League| WNBA

Charlotte female athlete to keep an eye on: Tanisha Wright

Not only is Wright a professional basketball player at the highest level, she is an assistant coach with the Charlotte 49ers women’s program. At 35 years old, Wright is still going strong, spending her 14th professional season with the New York Liberty. She played with them in 2016, before she briefly stepped away from the game in 2017. However, the pull of the game proved too much, and she returned to the WNBA in 2018 with the Minnesota Lynx. Wright made her name in the league, because of her ability to defend. She would earn a spot on the WBNA’s All-Defensive team seven times. Communicating the importance of defense with her players at Charlotte is paramount. For someone who did not expect to become a coach, it has become a natural fit. Players look at her career, and attentively listen to her instruction on the basketball court, because she knows what it takes to make it from college to the pros.

How she got to the WNBA

Wright played for Penn State in college. She became the program’s highest drafted player in 2005 when the Seattle Storm selected her 12th overall. Her decade spent with the Storm included a championship in 2010.

Women’s Premier Soccer League | WPSL

The WPSL is a place for female soccer players to shine during the summer. The season typically runs May through July.  Whether her goal is to sharpen her skills ahead of the college season or try to catch the eye of a professional club, the summer league is designed to develop amateur female athletes. Take a look at the four teams in the Charlotte area in the South Region Carolinas Conference.

North Division

Carolina Rapids (Cornelius)

The Rapids are still searching for their first win of the season at 0-2-1.

Charlotte female athlete to keep an eye on: Julia Grainda

Julia Grainda is spending the summer close to home. The Community School of Davidson alumna is studying exercise science, while playing for the Charlotte 49ers. She leads the rapids with one of their two goals.

Grainda (far right) and her teammates volunteering at Walter G Byers Elementary School

Lake Norman Eclipse (Lake Norman)

Lake Norman has also gotten off to a rocky start this season at 0-2. They will join the Rapids and Discoveries in August to create the Charlotte Independence SC, under the umbrella of Charlotte’s minor league soccer team, which plays in the USL Championship. The merger encompasses everything from the a youth level through the WPSL.

South Division

Charlotte Lady Eagles (Matthews)

The Lady Eagles are flying high in their first WPSL season. Undefeated at 4-0, they have only allowed one goal.

Not only is it their first season in the league, but it is also first time that the organization has been led by a female head coach. Former Charlotte 49ers soccer player, Sam Hope took over for Mitch Sanford ahead of the 2019 campaign. Hope played for the Eagles during the W-League era (a league that folded in 2015). She is the first player to become a head coach for the Eagles.

More than soccer

The Eagles are a faith-based organization. Mission trips are not uncommon for the Eagles, who spent over a week in Colombia ahead of the WPSL season. They use soccer as a method of ministry, teaching camps and sharing their faith.

Discoveries FC (Fort Mill)

Discoveries are struggling at 1-4. They won their first game on June 12, a 2-1 victory against Asheville.

Charlotte female athlete to keep an eye on: Megan Greene

Charlotte 49ers rising senior Megan Greene is spending the summer close to campus. She leads Discoveries with two goals, a familiar position, as she led Charlotte last season in scoring. Greene is the kind of player who prefers to let her play on the field speak for itself. Keep an eye on her throughout the summer, and in the fall with the 49ers.

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Ashley M
Ashley Mahoney covers professional, college and community sports as well as arts and culture at The Charlotte Post, an award-winning weekly publication. Her weekly recipe feature, Table Charlotte, allows people to create healthy recipes on a budget. Queen City Football Chronicle, a branch of The Post, covers collegiate through professional soccer exclusively in the Charlotte area. Between assignments and practicing yoga, she can be found throughout the city consuming far too much coffee.