Former Camel Ashley Clark invited to NC Courage preseason camp

Ashley Clark (ScarboroughPhotography.com)
Ashley Clark (ScarboroughPhotography.com)

CARY, N.C. -- Former Campbell women's soccer standout Ashley Clark has been named to the North Carolina Courage preseason roster, the organization announced Monday, March 13. The forward began preseason training this week and will compete for a roster spot for the 2017 season.

The Courage is a professional women's soccer team that competes in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Formerly the Western New York Flash, the Courage were acquired by the North Carolina Football Club in January of 2017 and will play their home matches at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Clark's hometown of Cary, North Carolina.

"I think it's great that Ashley was invited into preseason camp with the North Carolina Courage," said Campbell co-head coach Stuart Horne. "She was very determined and worked hard to give herself an opportunity to play after her time in college, and to get this tryout with her hometown club is exciting for Ashley and everyone involved with Campbell Women's Soccer."

Clark enjoyed a wealth of success in her five-year tenure with the Fighting Camels. One of the greatest attacking threats that Campbell has ever seen, she currently ranks second all-time in career goals with 46 and fourth in assists with 22. Her 114 total points rank second in program history, only behind Jenn Stephenson who tallied 60 goals and 23 assists to total 143 points from 1994-97.

Clark was named the 2015 Big South Attacking Player of the Year following her senior season, where she notched 17 goals, 10 assists and 44 points. She was a four-time First Team All-Conference honoree for the Camels and was also named to the Big South Presidential Honor Roll in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

The Cary native returns home after most recently playing during the 2016 season for Tierps IF, a Swedish League Division I club based out of Tierps, Sweden.

"One of the greatest rewards as a coach is the opportunity to see a student-athlete succeed while they play for you and after they leave," said Campbell co-head coach Samar Azem. "It's been Ashley's dream to play professionally from the moment she started playing, and she's seeing that dream come to fruition. She's passionate and dedicated to her personal process which has developed in her time at Campbell, into playing professionally in Sweden, and now with the next step being here in Cary, North Carolina. She's very deserving of every bit of success she works for, and it's a fantastic opportunity for her. We are beyond happy and proud of her."

Clark is one of four Campbell women's soccer players to move on to the professional ranks. Pirjo Leppikangas signed and currently plays for the Finnish side PK-35 Vantaa. Taylor Brown played for NiceFutis in Pori, Finland following her career at Campbell and former CU goalkeeper, Ryann Torrero also played professional soccer, both domestically and internationally.

"An invitation to be a part of the NWSL preseason roster with NC Courage, a big up-and-coming club, is an incredible accomplishment that not a lot of people can say they've achieved," Azem said. "First and foremost, I think it speaks volumes of Ashley's ability and the work she's put into developing that ability. I also think it says a lot about the type of player we're developing within our environment here at Campbell University. Our goal is to bring in players and continue to develop players that can help us achieve our goals of furthering our program, and who have the ability to play at the next level."

The NWSL preseason runs through the next month, with final roster cuts to be made in the coming weeks. The NC Courage opens their regular season on Saturday, April 15 at 3 p.m. as they visit the Washington Spirit, while the club's inaugural home opener is set for Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. against the Portland Thorns.

For the most up-to-date information on Campbell women's soccer, follow @GoCamelsWSOC on Twitter.