Debinha has been in the National Women’s Soccer League since 2017. When she first arrived in the league, she was known for her skill and the ability to score goals but throughout her time with the North Carolina Courage, what Debinha has also shown is a keen understanding of the game and an incredible work rate.
Debinha has won three NWSL Shields and two NWSL Championships with the Courage, picking up MVP honours in their last Championship win in 2019. This season, despite a very slow start, Debinha is on the brink of bringing the Courage back into an improbable playoff position. Against NJ/NY Gotham FC, every facet of what makes Debinha great was on full display.
Debinha’s first goal of the evening came as she ran into space and was picked out by a superb pass from Carson Pickett (who is having a stellar season herself).
Once the ball arrived at her feet, Debinha made her finish look easy. She skipped past Michelle Betos who had raced out to try and stop and then, with an acute angle facing her and Gotham defenders racing back to the goal line, she found the back of the net with a finish using her weaker foot.
Her second goal, which was equally as brilliant as the first, saw her beat her marker to Ryan Williams’ cross.
Not only was her acceleration on display here but her deft touch left Betos no chance at getting a touch on the ball to prevent the goal. Again, Debinha’s reading of the game and where she expected the cross to come made this goal for her. She was faster than anyone else around her and got rewarded for her quick thinking.
Finally, with the game winding down, Tess Boade capitalised on the space Gotham had left as they tried to find a goal, to pick out Debinha’s run and help the Brazilian score a hat-trick.
Debinha’s pace came to the fore, giving Mandy Freeman little chance of catching up to her, and then she casually clipped the ball over the onrushing Betos for her third of the night.
Anyone who has worn the No. 10 and who is Brazilian in origin is expected to produce the unexpected; to make the difficult look easy. Debinha does all of that and more. Every time she gets on the ball, whether you’re at the stadium or watching on a monitor, you expected something great to happen (if you’re a fan of the opposition that day, you’re just hoping she makes a mistake).
That’s how good she is. At this point, she’s been so good for so long, we’ve basically run out of adjectives to describe just how brilliant she is.
Then you look at her work rate.
If she does lose the ball, she races back to try and win possession because she understands that despite being “Creator-In-Chief”, she also has a defensive role she has to perform with her team if they are to win games. When the other team is in possession, she’s either pressing hard or keeping up with whoever she’s meant to mark on the day. Not many attacking players like defending but Debinha has fully embraced that side of the game and has done so for years. It makes her an even more complete player in my eyes and someone that honestly feels like she gets left out of conversation for the best 10s in the world, despite being truly one of the best 10s around.
Followers of this league will know just how good Debinha has been and continues to be. Despite a change in those around her (stalwarts Lynn Williams and Jessica MacDonald have been replaced by Kerolin and Diana Ordóñez), Debinha continues to be consistently the Courage’s best player. That form has now translated for her country as well and she is now Brazil’s talisman. No matter how this season ends for the Courage, Debinha has rightly put herself in the MVP conversation, and if she continues on delighting us all like this, who would deny that she deserves to be in the conversation.