Portland Thorns FC

Portland Thorns FC
Full name Portland Thorns FC
Nickname(s) PTFC, BAONPDX
Founded 2012 (2012)
Stadium Providence Park
Ground Capacity 21,144
Owner Merritt Paulson
Head Coach Mark Parsons
League National Women's Soccer League
Website Club home page

The Portland Thorns FC is an American professional women's soccer team based in Portland, Oregon. Established in 2012, the team began play in 2013 in the (then) eight-team National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) that receives support from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF).[1] The Portland franchise is owned by Peregrine Sports LLC, which also owns the Portland Timbers. The Thorns, the Houston Dash, and the Orlando Pride are the only NWSL teams with Major League Soccer affiliation.

In its inaugural season, the Portland Thorns FC placed third during the regular season and won the first ever NWSL championship game.

On September 25, 2016, Portland Thorns FC won the 2016 NWSL Shield.[2]


The genesis of elite Oregon women's soccer started before the creation of the NWSL in 2012. An elite women's travelling team started in Portland after the 1996 Summer Olympics and 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup excitement along with teams owned by the Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps and a team in Spokane.[3] The four teams were to be entered into the USL W-League's W-1 division for the 2001 season, the same year as the first Women's United Soccer Association season.[4] In Portland the team was christened the Portland Rain and played the 2000 season in the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL). The team played the 2001 season in the W-League before returning to the PCSL until 2003 when the team folded.[5] Women's soccer was also well supported via the University of Portland Pilots.

The Portland Rain were re-founded in 2009 when they joined the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL). On May 2, 2012 the Portland Timbers partnered with the Portland Rain and the Oregon Youth Soccer Association's (OYSA) Girls Olympic Development (ODP) program. This precursor to the NWSL announcement the following November was to facilitate an integrated development structure for Oregon's girls youth soccer to elite women's competition.[6][7][8] After the start of the NWSL, in the 2013 WPSL the Portland Rain spot was replaced by a Timbers Alliance club Westside Timbers and Tualatin Hills United Soccer Club (THUSC) Diamonds. These two teams join the Oregon Rush (2011), now Bend FC Timbers, and Eugene Metro Futbol Club (EMFC in 2012) so Oregon has a total of four WPSL teams at this level of the American soccer pyramid.[9][10][11][12]

NWSL formation

The formation of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) was announced on November 21, 2012, with Portland selected as a host for one of the eight teams.[1][13][14] At that time it was announced by Portland Timbers' owner Merritt Paulson that the Timbers would own the team.[14] The team name was announced as the Portland Thorns FC on December 13, 2012, with a logo also unveiled.[15][16][17] Both the name and logo were intended to invoke Portland's nickname of the Rose City.[15][18]

Cindy Parlow Cone was announced as the first head coach on December 19, 2012.[19] On January 11, 2013, the league held its player allocation for the national team players, with Portland receiving seven players, including former University of Portland Pilots star Christine Sinclair.[20] The other players assigned to the Thorns were Rachel Buehler, Tobin Heath, Karina LeBlanc, Alex Morgan, Marlene Sandoval, and Luz Saucedo.[20]

"We are thrilled with today's allocation, and I see this group of seven players as a terrific foundation for this club," said Parlow Cone.[21] Seattle Reign FC general manager Amy Carnell reaction to the NSWL allocation and Morgan's placement was, "I think generally speaking, I could speak for all the clubs when I say I'm extremely surprised they would place (Christine) Sinclair and (Alex) Morgan in the same city. Two of the best strikers in the world in the same city."[22] Carnell said Seattle Reign FC "were a little surprised" they didn't get Morgan, considering that she had spent the previous spring with the Seattle Sounders Women.[22] This reunited Sinclair and Morgan as club mates since winning the regular season and championship title with the Western New York Flash in Women's Professional Soccer's final season.

2013 season

Under head coach Cindy Parlow Cone, the Thorns played in the new league's inaugural game on April 13, 2013 against host team FC Kansas City, which ended in a 1-1 draw in which Christine Sinclair scored the club's first goal on a penalty kick.[23][24] The team's first home match on April 21 provided the club its first victory, a 2-1 win over Seattle Reign FC.[25] Beyond setting a new league record, the opening day crowd of 16,479 at Jeld-Wen Field eclipsed any single-game attendance from Women's Professional Soccer.[26] Subsequently, the team's regular-season home finale of 17,619 topped the previous mark of 16,479 and also ranks among the top single-game marks in women's professional soccer history in the United States.[27]

On the road, Thorns FC also seem to be an attendance draw. Portland's road games have been witnessed by season-high attendance figures or sellout crowds, including a record-setting crowd at the Maryland SoccerPlex against the Washington Spirit on May 4.[28] A total of 5,011 fans were present, besting the previous record for a women's game at the Soccerplex by more than 300 and about 500 more than normal capacity.[29]

On August 28, 2013, NWSL announced Thorns FC forwards Christine Sinclair, Alex Morgan and defender Rachel Buehler were named to the National Women's Soccer League Best XI Second Team.[30] The club finished in a three-way tie atop the league in the regular season standings, but by virtue of goal differential tiebreaker the club claimed the No. 3 seed in the NWSL playoffs. In the first round of playoffs on Aug 24, the Thorns beat FC Kansas City 3-2 in overtime. A week later they beat the Western New York Flash 2-0 in the first-ever championship game to become the first NWSL Champions.[31]

After the end of the season, Cindy Parlow Cone resigned as head coach on December 5, 2013. She cited personal reasons, particularly the desire of her and her husband, Portland Timbers director of sports science John Cone (who also resigned around the same time), to be together more.[32]

2014 season

The Thorns kicked off their 2014 season with the announcement of a new head coach, Paul Riley, formerly of the Long Island Fury of the Women's Premier Soccer League.[33] Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was traded to the Chicago Red Stars and was replaced with 2013 FIFA World Player of the Year recipient Nadine Angerer.[34] A new NWSL attendance record of 19,123 was set at Providence Park on August 3 in a game between Portland and Houston, breaking the previous record of 17,619 set in the same stadium in 2013.[35]

2015 season

The Thorns made a number of roster moves in the off season. In November 2014 the Thorns traded for defender Kat Williamson and midfielder McCall Zerboni from the Western New York Flash in exchange for midfielder Amber Brooks.[36] Williamson appeared in 21 matches (20 starts) during the 2014 regular season for the Western New York Flash. Williamson was traded to the Flash on April 5 as part of a move that granted Portland the right to midfielder Vero Boquete. The eighth overall pick by Portland in the first round of the 2013 National Women's Soccer League College (NWSL) Draft from the University of Florida, Williamson made her professional debut with Thorns FC in 2013 and ranked second on the team in minutes (1,944) during her rookie campaign. A native of McKinney, Texas, Williamson was one of three players to start all 24 matches during the 2013 season as she helped guide Portland to the 2013 NWSL Championship. Zerboni played three professional seasons with the Western New York Flash in both the NWSL and Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), helping guide the Flash to the 2011 WPS title and the championship match of the 2013 NWSL Playoffs.

As part of the National Team player allocation process for the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), Portland Thorns received Canada Women's National Team midfielder Kaylyn Kyle and defender Rhian Wilkinson.[37] Kyle, 26, has 89 international caps with the Canada Women's National Team. A native of Saskatoon, Sask., Kyle won a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and competed at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup with Canada. Wilkinson, 32, has earned 152 international caps since making her senior debut with the Canada Women's National Team in 2003 at age 20. A native of Baie D’Urfe, Quebec, Wilkinson helped guide Canada to a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and has competed in three consecutive FIFA Women's World Cups (2003, 2007, 2011).

Portland acquired defender Kendall Johnson from Sky Blue FC in exchange for the 25th and 34th overall selections in the 2015 National Women's Soccer League College Draft. A native of Portland and former University of Portland standout, Johnson, 23, appeared in 15 matches (12 starts) for Sky Blue FC during the 2014 regular season, her second season with the team.[38]

Portland acquired forward Jodie Taylor from the Washington Spirit in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick (No. 13 overall) and two second-round picks in 2016.[39] A standout at Oregon State, Taylor, 28 was one of the top goal scorers in the NWSL in 2014. An England international, Taylor has earned three caps with the England Women's National Team, making her debut in an international friendly against Sweden in August 2014.

Defender Nikki Marshall announced her retirement from professional soccer.[40] Marshall retires after playing four professional seasons, including the last two with Portland Thorns FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). In two seasons with the club, Marshall, 26, appeared in a club-record 46 consecutive regular-season matches, playing 3,943 minutes.

Portland signed international forward Genoveva Añonma.[41] The Equatorial Guinea international is the 10th-ranked goal scorer all-time in Frauen Bundesliga history and the 2012 African Women Footballer of the Year, Añonma, who goes by Ayo, has played professionally in Germany since 2009. Añonma has appeared in 122 matches in the German league, recording 95 goals during her time with FF USV Jena and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam.

Portland signed midfielder Sarah Robbins.[42] Robbins appeared in 14 matches, recording three goals and seven assists, for Finnish club Åland United in 2014. The midfielder logged 1,189 minutes for the Naisten Liiga side, and competed in the qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Women's Champions League.

At the end of the 2015 season, head coach Paul Riley stepped down from the position [43] and former Washington Spirit head coach Mark Parsons took over as head coach for 2016.[44]

Colors and crest

The team's colors were announced as red, green, and black.[18] The team crest was designed by artist and Timbers Army member Brent Diskin. Its design features the team colors of red, green and black "with a protective wreath of thorns surrounding a familiar, stylized rose in the center." The design also includes a pair of four-pointed stars, or hypocycloids, that house the letters "F" and "C" and anchor the sides of the badge, and resemble the star prominent on Portland's official city flag.[45][46] The team's home kit is rose red with a white stripe, while the road kit is white.[47] The club unveiled their home and away kits on April 9, 2013.[47] Both uniforms feature sponsorships by Providence Health & Services and Parklane Mattresses, and are made by Nike.[47]



Season NWSL regular season Position NWSL
2013 22 11 6 5 32 28 38 3rd Champions
2014 24 1086393536 3rd Semifinals
2015 20 695272923 6th DNQ
2016 201235 35 19 41 Shield Semifinals

DNQ = Did not qualify

* = Season in Progress

Top Scorer
Season Player Nation Goals
2013 Christine Sinclair  Canada 8
Alex Morgan  United States
2014 Jessica McDonald  United States 11
2015 Allie Long  United States 10
2016 Nadia Nadim  Denmark 9

Player statistics


# Pos. Name Nation Career NWSL Playoffs Total
1 Midfielder Long, AllieAllie Long  USA 2013– 79 4 83
2 Midfielder Shim, MeleanaMeleana Shim  USA 2013– 68 3 71
3 Forward Sinclair, ChristineChristine Sinclair  CAN 2013– 63 4 67
4 Defender Menges, EmilyEmily Menges  USA 2014– 60 2 62
5 Defender Marshall, NikkiNikki Marshall  USA 2013–2014 46 2 48
Defender Van Hollebeke, RachelRachel Van Hollebeke  USA 2013–2015 45 3 48
Defender Williamson, KatKat Williamson  USA 2013, 2015–2016 46 2 48
8 Midfielder Heath, TobinTobin Heath  USA 2013– 38 4 42
9 Forward Morgan, AlexAlex Morgan  USA 2013–2015 36 2 38
10 Midfielder Farrelly, SineadSinead Farrelly  USA 2014–2015 36 0 36


# Pos. Name Nation Career NWSL Playoffs Total
1 Midfielder Long, AllieAllie Long  USA 2013– 28 1 29
2 Forward Sinclair, ChristineChristine Sinclair  CAN 2013– 23 2 25
3 Forward Morgan, AlexAlex Morgan  USA 2013–2015 15 0 15
4 Forward McDonald, JessicaJessica McDonald  USA 2014 11 0 11
5 Midfielder Shim, MeleanaMeleana Shim  USA 2013– 9 0 9
Forward Nadim, NadiaNadia Nadim  DEN 2016– 9 0 9
7 Forward Horan, LindseyLindsey Horan  USA 2016 5 1 6
8 Midfielder Brynjarsdóttir, DagnýDagný Brynjarsdóttir  ISL 2016– 5 0 5
9 Forward Foxhoven, DanielleDanielle Foxhoven  USA 2013 4 0 4
Forward Boquete, VeroVero Boquete  ESP 2014 4 0 4
Midfielder Heath, TobinTobin Heath  USA 2013– 2 2 4


# Pos. Name Nation Career NWSL Playoffs Total
1 Midfielder Heath, TobinTobin Heath  USA 2013– 14 0 14
2 Forward Morgan, AlexAlex Morgan  USA 2013–2015 11 1 12
Midfielder Long, AllieAllie Long  USA 2013– 12 0 12
4 Midfielder Shim, MeleanaMeleana Shim  USA 2013– 9 0 9
5 Forward Sinclair, ChristineChristine Sinclair  CAN 2013- 7 0 7


See also: NWSL stadiums

The Portland Thorns play at Providence Park located in the Goose Hollow neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.[48] Providence Park was the third-largest stadium in the NWSL, after the Boston Breakers' Harvard Stadium and the 2014 expansion Houston Dash's BBVA Compass Stadium. However, the Dash closed sections to seat only 7,000 spectators per game in 2014, and in 2015, the Breakers moved to 1,000-capacity Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium, making the 20,738-capacity Providence Park the largest stadium by NWSL-specific capacity. The Thorns also share the stadium with the Portland Timbers and the Portland State University Vikings.


Current squad

As of October 19, 2016 [49]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 United States DF Katherine Reynolds
4 United States DF Emily Menges
6 United States FW Meleana Shim
7 United States MF Lindsey Horan
9 Denmark FW Nadia Nadim
10 United States MF Allie Long
11 Iceland MF Dagný Brynjarsdóttir
12 Canada FW Christine Sinclair
15 United States MF Kendall Johnson
16 United States DF Emily Sonnett
No. Position Player
17 United States MF Tobin Heath
18 United States GK Michelle Betos
21 Australia FW Hayley Raso
24 United States GK Adrianna Franch
25 United States DF Meghan Klingenberg
26 United States FW Mallory Weber
28 France MF Amandine Henry
30 United States MF Celeste Boureille
44 United States DF Meg Morris

Unpaid amateurs called in during 2016 season to replace roster players away on national team duty.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
27 United States FW Maureen Fitzgerald
29 United States FW Shade Pratt
32 United States FW Sam Lofton

See also


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  2. "Portland Thorns earn NWSL Shield after 3-1 win at Sky Blue FC". Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  3. Stickney, Ron. "2000 News Archive". Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  4. Stickney, Ron (April 21, 2000). "SEATTLE SOUNDERS SELECT WOMEN'S TEAM LAUNCHED". Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  5. Litterer, David (February 14, 2010). "The W-League (USL) (1995–2005)". American Soccer History Archives. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  6. Given, Not (May 2, 2012). "Timbers announce strategic partnerships with Portland Rain, Girls ODP Program". Portland Timbers FC. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  7. Gibson, Geoff (May 2, 2012). "Portland Timbers Officially Tie the Knot With Portland Rain; Strategic Partnership Announced". SB Nation – Stumptown Footy. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  8. Kassouf, Jeff (May 4, 2012). "Portland Rain Now Under Timbers' Umbrella". Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  9. "Women'S Premier Soccer League – The Largest National Women'S Soccer League In The World". Wpsl.info. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  10. Zuniga-West, Dante (May 10, 2012). "Eugene Metro Futbol Club". Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  11. http://www.thusc.org/home.php
  12. "Eugene Metro Fútbol Club – EMFC Soccer in Eugene, Oregon – EMFC WPSL Azul". Emfc.org. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  13. Kesgard, Kip (November 21, 2012). "U.S. Soccer announces new women's professional league, Portland Timbers to operate local franchise". The Oregonian – Oregon Live. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  14. 1 2 Giegerich, Andy (November 21, 2012). "Women's pro soccer coming to Portland". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  15. 1 2 Siemers, Erik (December 13, 2012). "Timbers name new women's club Portland Thorns". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  16. Manning, Rob (December 13, 2012). "Women's Soccer Team To Be Named 'Portland Thorns'". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  17. Arnold, Geoffrey C. (December 13, 2012). "Portland Thorns: Women's professional soccer team unveils name, logo". The Oregonian. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  18. 1 2 "Portland women's pro team unveils "Thorns FC" as identity". Clubs. Soccer Wire. December 13, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  19. "Cindy Parlow Cone hired as Portland Thorns FC coach". The Oregonian. December 19, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  20. 1 2 Giegerich, Andy (January 11, 2013). "Sinclair, Morgan set to join Thorns soccer team". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  21. "Alex Morgan, Christine Sinclair among first seven players added to Portland Thorns FC through allocation process". Clubs. Portland Timbers. January 11, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  22. 1 2 Mayers, Joshua (January 11, 2013). "A stop and chat with Reign FC general manager Amy Carnell". Clubs. The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  23. "Thorns FC announce inaugural NWSL Schedule". Portland Timbers. February 12, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  24. Arnold, Geoffrey C. (April 13, 2013). "Portland Thorns finish in 1-1 draw at Kansas City". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  25. Arnold, Geoffrey C. (April 21, 2013). "Portland Thorns defeat Seattle 2-1 in home opener". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  26. Farley, Richard (April 21, 2013). "Dougherty, Morgan goals give Thorns Cascadia triumph". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  27. "RECAP Portland Thorns FC 2, FC Kansas City 3". Portland Timbers. August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  28. "RECAP Portland Thorns FC 2, Washington Spirit 1". Portland Timbers. May 4, 2013.
  29. Gordon, Jennifer (May 4, 2013). "Morgan, Thorns outlast Spirit in SoccerPlex sellout". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  30. "Portland Thorns FC players named to NWSL Best XI Second Team". Portland Timbers. August 28, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  31. Hays, Graham (August 31, 2013). "Portland blazes trail with NWSL title". ESPN. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  32. Goldberg, Jamie. "Cindy Parlow Cone has resigned as head coach for the Portland Thorns." Accessed February 7, 2014.
  33. Goldberg, Jamie (December 10, 2013). "Portland Thorns name Paul Riley as head coach for the 2014 season". The Oregonian. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  34. Danzer, Paul (January 13, 2014). "Thorns add top goalkeeper, trade LeBlanc". The Columbian. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  35. "THORNS FC DEFEAT DASH, 1-0, IN FRONT OF RECORD CROWD". nwslsoccer.com. August 3, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  36. "Thorns FC acquire defender Kat Williamson, midfielder McCall Zerboni from Western New York Flash in exchange for midfielder Amber Brooks". Portland Thorns. November 6, 2014.
  37. "Kaylyn Kyle, Rhian Wilkinson added to Portland Thorns FC through National Team Allocation Process". Portland Thorns. January 14, 2015.
  38. "Thorns FC acquire defender Kendall Johnson from Sky Blue FC in exchange for third, fourth-round draft picks in 2015". Portland Thorns. January 14, 2015.
  39. "Portland Thorns FC acquire Jodie Taylor from Washington Spirit through trade at NWSL draft". Portland Thorns. January 16, 2015.
  40. "Thorns FC defender Nikki Marshall announces retirement". Portland Thorns FC. February 9, 2015.
  41. "Portland Thorns FC sign forward Genoveva Añonma". Portland Thorns FC. February 24, 2015.
  42. "Portland Thorns FC sign midfielder Sarah Robbins". Portland Thorns FC. February 26, 2015.
  43. "Paul Riley Fired". oregonlive.com. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  44. "Mark Parsons joins Thorns". oregonlive.com. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  45. "Portland Women's Professional Soccer Club reveals team name, crest". Portland Thorns FC. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  46. "Q&A: Avid Timbers Army member Brent Diskin talks about his unique design for the Portland Thorns". Portland Thorns FC. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  47. 1 2 3 Siemers, Erik (April 9, 2013). "Portland Thorns uniforms highlight three Portland Companies". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  48. Bird, Liviu. "Merritt Paulson Confident Women's Soccer Will Thrive in Portland". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  49. "Portland Thorns exercise 2017 contract options on 10 players". OregonLive.com. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
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