Goalkeeper Casey Murphy joined the team early in 2021, ready to make her mark on the position, and block, defend and strive for as many clean sheets as possible. So far in 2021, Murphy has done all of the above, recording an 83.6% successful save rate in 11 starts with nearly 1,000 minutes played, and 5 clean sheets for the North Carolina Courage. The 2021 starting goalkeeper for the NC Courage joined Courage Country virtually Wednesday afternoon to answer the 2021 edition of the Starting XI Questions.
2021 Starting XI Questions: Casey Murphy
During quarantine what’s been your biggest struggle in training and fitness?
The biggest struggle was the fact that I couldn’t trade with my teammates so I had to rely on my boyfriend to take shots on me and he’s a javelin thrower. He did play soccer for like 10 years but he was also a football field goal kicker so his shots were either on frame and upper 90 or sky rocket over the goal into the pond. So there was no happy medium. So the biggest challenge was in that moment was he was my training partner, but also my boyfriend so I needed to you know, not be super mean and say, “Let’s get your shots on frame,” but also try and make sure that he was confident enough to get me a good workout.
What’s been one silver lining for you during COVID?
I don’t know who else is doing this. I don’t care, who else is doing this, but I’m doing it. I’m going to go out there. I’m going to get better.
I just love the fact that I had to hop a fence every single day to get on the field that was closed with my ball bag. It was just like every day, I just continue to prove to myself that I really love what I do. I want to be the best. I know it’s going to require me to do whatever it takes. Every day, where I hopped the fence, I was like, “Let’s go. I don’t know who else is doing this. I don’t care, who else is doing this, but I’m doing it. I’m going to go out there. I’m going to get better.”
What’s one thing you’ve learned since becoming part of the Courage?
I’ve learned a lot like each team plays a different style of soccer. So it’s adapting to how they play so you can best serve the team. I’ve just learned you have to remember what you’re good at, and bring that but also be able to adjust so that you can fit into how your team plays best. So it’s just learning how you fit into the Courage way of playing.
Who is your go-to on the team for advice, questions, and just venting?
Honestly, there are quite a few players, which is great. There’s definitely a handful. I have some quality experience center backs that I can go to for advice or questions I have. You know we all live in the same apartments so it’s like it’s easy to go down to my neighbor on the first floor and talk to them or vent to them, or if we’re going and doing a full recovery at our pool here, you run into five girls also doing the same thing. So I feel like I have really good relationships with a lot of players on the team.
What’s been the biggest “aha” moment in your professional career so far?
I think it’s just like you can’t get too high with the highs and lows with the lows of the game. There are games where everything’s going right, and your team’s winning. You’re getting shutouts. You’re happy. Then there are times where especially in this league anyone could win on any given day and if you lose three or four, nil, you have to quickly be able to bounce back because it’s a long season here. You can’t like I said, get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. So I think it’s just realizing that and being able to quickly bounce back to your standard as fast as possible.
What’s been the biggest adjustment training and playing for the Courage?
I wouldn’t say it was a huge adjustment. It was just I really loved it. The Courage train intensely. They train hard every day. It’s competitive and you need to be on. You need to be ready and you’ve got to work hard. I love that and that reminds me a lot of how I trained in the offseason. I heard about how the Courage trainings were and always wanted to experience it. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can’t imagine it any other way. The expectations are high here. It’s a winning culture so that fitness is a huge piece of it.
Who was your role model in the soccer world growing up?
I love soccer. I eat and breathe soccer, so growing up, soccer was always on the TV. So if there was a game on, I was watching it, and you know I never really had like, “I want this team to win.” I would just always watch the goalkeepers on both teams. I watched a lot of men’s games. I watched a lot of the EPL. The English Premier League goalkeepers I loved watching on the field. Also Tim Howardd — he was a Jersey guy. I enjoyed watching him growing up and then on the women’s side, I remember watching a lot of Karina LeBlanc.
Also once the league started in the States here, I was watching the goalkeepers — the women’s professional goalkeepers at that time. Honestly, I can’t give you specifics, because I watched probably every goalkeeper.
What’s the one essential possession that goes with you wherever you live?
Well, now it’s gonna be my five-month-old golden retriever. Yeah so I guess my dog.
What sport would you play if soccer wasn’t an option?
Well, I would be devastated if soccer wasn’t an option, but I would then definitely be in the WNBA.
What have you binged on lately?
The Olympic Games. I’ve been watching that nonstop — all the events: the track and field events, the basketball, the soccer obviously, table tennis, badminton. So a ton of different Olympic Games have been on.
Have you been getting up for the live events or are you more watching replays?
I go to bed early. I say to myself if I just happen to be up at this time, I’m probably going to turn it on. If not, then for soccer, I definitely catch the replay.
Question from Haz James: As a recent new dog mum how has that changed you, and are you enjoying it?
Oh, honestly, he fits right into my routines in the morning. He likes to walk in the morning, as do I. He likes to stretch in the morning, as do I. He reminds me constantly that I need to be drinking water because this puppy drinks so much water. He’s just always happy and energetic. So you know, even if it was a long travel day — we’re traveling back from the West coast and coming home and seeing a smiling cute dog always makes things better. So I’m enjoying the dog mom life or “mum” life.
2021 Starting XI Questions
Check out the growing number of 2021 and previous seasons’ Starting XI Questions.
Look for more articles on Murphy and the entire North Carolina Courage squad throughout the 2021 season here on Courage Country.