Thorns FC: The postseason begins…

…with the retirement of defender Kat Williamson…


…and the LCL surgery of Nadia Nadim.

The official announcement of Williamson’s retirement doesn’t specify a reason.  My guess is that the past season’s struggle with injury might be a part as well as the usual difficulty we’ve seen in making a living in the NWSL as an unsubsidized player.  Kat’s 27 now.  When you’re 21 or 22 (or even 25) the fun of playing a sport can overcome the hardships of living out of a small apartment with a roomie and eating ramen twice a day three times a week.  When you’re 27 or 28…maybe not so much.

Still…Kat’s loss thins the depth at the back that Thorns FC struggled with, most notably in the semifinal when both fullbacks had off days but Coach Parsons had nobody to throw on that gave him a better option.

Williamson was always a gamer, a player that, while she might not have been in the running for FIFA Player of the Year, left it on the pitch.  I hope she’s going out with her head up, and I’m sorry we didn’t know about this before the season ended.  It’d have been nice to have given her a special thank-you before the lights went dark on the 2016 season.


Nadim’s injury is a bit concerning.  Here’s the summary of lateral collateral ligament injuries from the Cedars-Sinai page:

“Lateral collateral ligament tears do not heal as well as medial collateral ligament tears do. Grade 3 lateral collateral ligament tears may require surgery…Lateral knee reconstruction is an open-knee procedure, and is not done arthroscopically. The tendon graft is passed through bone tunnels and fixed to the thighbone and lower leg bone (fibula) using screws or posts or with stitches tied around a post.”

Forwards like Nadim depend on quick movement and shiftiness, and an LCL that doesn’t resolve well is going to give her trouble with that.  It’s worth noting that the Cedars page gives eight weeks as the approximate time for recovery for mild LCL tears and, obviously, Nadim’s is the “Grade 3” or full tear that will require a longer convalescence before she can resume training, so presumably no earlier than late December and more likely early in 2017.

Nadim herself – as a good athlete should  – remains positive: “When shit doesn’t go your way – force it your way!” was her motto.  Still…for all that you all know I had my issues with her form in the early part of the season she grew into her role and I will always treasure the Miracle against Seattle.  I hope her recovery is rapid and complete.


This unhappy news does open the question, however: what, if any, moves can (must, will, should…) Thorns FC make in the coming offseason?

While we can open the discussion in the comments thread, but…just FYI I’m going to begin discussing the upcoming silly season in my Thorns FC post next week.

Let’s talk more then, shall we?

(Photo credit: the KatKat banner from Richard Hamje at Riveting!)



6 Comments Thorns FC: The postseason begins…

  1. B Fredricks

    Additionally, with the end of the season, Portland officially got absolutely nothing out of the 3rd pick in the 2016 draft. Although the prospect of getting Pugh was exciting, someone dropped the ball on making sure she was committed to turning pro before giving up such a valuable asset.

    1. John Lawes

      And what eventually WILL happen with Pugh is still a genuine head-scratcher. She was reported to want to come play here and wanting to turn pro early. Somewhere some people got their stories crossed up; my guess is that she (or her parents) may well have said something to the Peregrine FO that gave the impression that she was committed to turning pro in 2016…but then she not only didn’t go professional she put off her UCLA enrollment until this January.

      One of the comments on the Equalizer post about this had an interesting theory; that she wasn’t really all that much about UCLA other than to play there. Then she got to the USWNT camp and had the experience of playing with a group that included players significantly older and more experienced and realized that she’d always be “the kid” on a pro side…so she went to her folks and said, gee, maybe I DO want to go to college after all…

      Again, given the opacity of the Thorns’ Front Office it’s hard to say who goofed here. My guess is that it was Pugh or her family but it’s hard to say with any confidence, and in the end it was on the FO to be sure they had the player committed before making that choice.

      And what makes it worse in retrospect is looking back at what was supposedly such a terrible draft class look at the successes that came out of that; Rodriguez for SBFC, Williams for the Spirit, Beckie for Houston, Doniak for WNY…I mean, I think that Sonnett was a great pick but we missed on Pugh and Berryhill has been no better than replacement-level. Not a great draft for us, honestly…

      …and we’re not looking like we’ll be in position for anything spectacular in January 2017. Boston will get Lavelle with their #1 overall (sorry, Rose…) and we don’t even have a pick until #7 and #8 in the second round.

      But I want to talk more about that next week.

    1. jdlawes

      Well, it’s hard to see where there’s enough depth that a trade looks inevitable, so I would be kidding you if I said I knew.

      We can’t expect much from this year’s draft, however, unless we trade up. Someone may have to be packaged in a deal to make that happen. Who? Damifino.

      Unsurprised Skogerboe was released. Unimpressive in limited time this season.

      One name not mentioned was Berryhill. Does she have a multiyear contract? Is that even a thing in NWSL? Or is the FO still uncommitted to her?

      Hopefully Betos and Menges get, and take, good offers. Shim…I’m not sure I’d weep if Mana walked away. I really want her to make the big step up and she keeps not stepping. Not a bad player…just teases more and then doesn’t get there.

      I need to think more about this news and what it could mean for next season. I’ll be back w a full post next week…

      1. B Fredricks

        Berryhill was released during the season when Kat and Kendall came off the injured list. She was picked up by Orlando who exercised the option on her for 2017.

        1. John Lawes

          Yep! Thank you for that correction; I’d just came by to add that I’d forgotten we outrighted Berryhill (which, sadly, says something about how much of an impact she made on me as a Thorn…).

          But…now that I think of it, I wonder if Kat didn’t said anything to the FO about her retirement until after the semi? You’d think that if she had some sort of convenient injury would have been arranged to allow Berryhill to go on the DL until the end of the season…hmmm…

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