Meet the Thorns FC free agent signees and supplemental draft picks

Portland Thorns FC have added more players to the team’s roster with the signing of four free agents and five picks in the NWSL Supplemental draft. The nine additional players brings the current roster to 20 players.

Thorns FC Free Agent Signings

Becky Edwards
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-8
Born: May 22, 1988, in Downington, Pa.
Hometown: Downington, Pa.
Last Club: Kristianstads DFF (Sweden)
College: Florida State Univ.
Nationality: United States

In 2012, Edwards scored two goals in 18 matches (17 starts), helping Kristianstads DFF to a fifth-place finish in the Swedish league standings.

Allie Long
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-8
Born: Aug. 13, 1987, in Huntington, N.Y.
Hometown: Northport, N.Y.
Last Club: New York Fury (WPSL Elite)
College: Univ. of North Carolina
Nationality: United States

In 2012, Long played for the New York Fury of the Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPSL) Elite, helping lead the team to a 9-3-2 overall record and a berth in the WPSL Elite playoff semifinals.

Nikki Marshall
Position: Defender
Height: 5-7
Born: June 2, 1988, in Thornton, Colo.
Hometown: Mead, Colo.
Last Club: Western New York Flash (WPSL Elite)
College: Univ. of Colorado
Nationality: United States

In 2012, Marshall was part of the WPS Elite championship winning Western New York Flash. She brings versatility to her new club as she can play any position on the backline.

Nikki Washington
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-4
Born: Aug. 1, 1988, in Dallas, Texas
Hometown: Mesquite, Texas
Last Club: Canberra United (Australia)
College: Univ. of North Carolina
Nationality: United States

Washington is coming off a short stint as an injury replacement with Canberra United, of the Westfield W-League in Australia, tallying three goals in five appearances.

Thorns FC Supplemental Draft Picks

Marian Dalmy
Position: Defender
Height: 5-9
Born: Nov. 25, 1984, in Denver, Colo.
Hometown: Lakewood, Colo.
Last Club: magicJack (WPS)
College: Santa Clara University
Nationality: United States

Dalmy is a player rumored to have not been interested in playing in NWSL. She last played for magicJack in 2011. If she plays, Thorns FC will be adding another quality defender with national team experience to the squad.

Tina Ellertson
Position: Defender
Height: 5-9
Born: May 20, 1982, in Vancouver, Wash.
Hometown: Vancouver, Wash.
Last Club: magicJack (WPS)
College: University of Washington
Nationality: United States

Ellertson brings a wealth of experience to the club, if she actually plays. Earlier this week, Ellertson announced on Twitter: “Not playing pro ball this year guys! Family First!!!” It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Richard Farley from Pro Soccer Talk did report on Thursday that  Portland is optimistic that Ellertson will “eventually suit up for the team.”

Angie Kerr
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-5
Born: March 29, 1985, in San Diego, Calif.
Hometown: El Cajon, Calif.
Last Club: Sky Blue FC (WPS)
College: University of Portland
Nationality: United States

Portland Pilot fans will be excited to welcome Kerr back to the Rose City. She’ll be reunited with former Pilot teammate Christine Sinclair, as well as U-19 teammate Rachel Buehler.

Jessica Shufelt
Position: Forward
Height: 5-7
Born: May 29, 1990, in Rochester, N.Y.
Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.
Last Club: Ottawa Fury (USL W-League)
College: University of Connecticut
Nationality: United States

At 22, Jessica is the youngest of the Supplemental Draft picks. She played for the USL W-League champion, Ottawa Fury in 2012, registering one goal and two assists in 12 appearances.

Michele Weissenhofer
Position: Forward
Height: 5-4
Born: Aug.18, 1987, in Naperville, Ill.
Hometown: Naperville, Ill.
Last Club: Chicago Red Stars (WPSL Elite)
College: University of Notre Dame
Nationality: United States

Chicago Red Stars fans on Twitter were not happy to see Weissenhofer picked up by Thorns FC in Thursday’s Supplemental Draft. Weissenhofer played a key role for the Red Stars last season in WPSL Elite, helping lead the team to the championship game. She scored five goals in 12 matches for the club.

The Portland Thorns FC roster-building process continues today marking the beginning of the signing of Discovery Players. Clubs may claim up to four Discovery Players, securing the rights to sign those players heading into preseason training camps. Discovery Players may be either international or domestic. Players who were eligible for but not selected in the Supplemental Draft may be claimed as Discovery Players. The rights to Discovery Players will be allocated to a team on a “date of submission priority” basis. If two teams submit the same player, the team that submitted the player first will have the opportunity to sign that player.

Over the weekend, the team will be holding tryouts as well. Tryouts will be held at JELD-WEN Field from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 9th and Sunday, February 10th. Additional details can be found on the Portland Thorns FC website.

 

 

Thorns FC add four players in today’s NWSL college draft

Portland Thorns FC selected Kathryn Williamson, a defender from the University of Florida, with the eighth overall pick in the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft on Friday at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

In the following rounds, Thorns FC drafted University of Central Florida forward Nicolette Radovcic in the second round (16th overall), University of North Carolina midfielder Amber Brooks in the third round (24th overall) and Pepperdine University goalkeeper Roxanne Barker with the final pick of the draft (32nd overall).

“I’m very excited about our four college draft picks. They’re all very technical players and players that I can see jumping into a game right away,” said Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone. “They’re all going to be wonderful professionals.”

Here’s a quick rundown of Portland’s picks in today’s draft:

1st pick at #8: Kathryn Williamson (Center back)

College: University of Florida, where she anchored the defense for all four years. She was an All-American for the past three years.

Skills: Williamson has excellent pace which always her to play aggressively on defense. She is also very comfortable with ball in possession.

Concerns: Injuries have been a big concern as Williamson has missed time with ACL and meniscus injuries. If she can stay healthy, Williamson could easily step in and be an immediate contributor for Thorns FC.

2nd pick at #16: Nicolette Radovcic (Forward)

College: University of Central Florida, where she led her team in scoring over the last two seasons.

Skills: Radovcic led her team with 12 goals last season and became known for coming up big when it counted most. Her new teammates will love Radovcic’s impressive workrate.

Concerns: Radovcic won’t be an immediate contributor, but that shouldn’t be a big worry as she’ll be able to learn a great deal from Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair.

3rd pick at #24: Amber Brooks (Midfielder)

College: University of North Carolina, where she was captain and anchor of the Tar Heels midfield. Coach

Skills: One of the most highly rated players coming into the draft, Brooks is known for her excellent leadership skills as well as her tenacity. She can also provide good service on set pieces, but has also scored goals as a poacher on set pieces as well.

Concerns: None really, except Brooks won’t be joining Thorns FC right away as she signed with Bayern Munich for the remainder of their season last week. This explains why Brooks, who was projected as a first-round pick, dropped this low. Hopefully, Coach Cindy Parlow-Cone’s relationship with Brooks (Parlow-Cone was her assistant coach at UNC) can possibly help bring in Brooks sooner than later. More on this in a later post.

4th pick at #32: Roxanne Barker (Goalkeeper)

College: Pepperdine University, where she was a four-year starter. Barker is also a South African international and made the roster for Bayana Bayana’s Olympic squad last summer.

Skills: Barker’s stock began to rise over the last two seasons at Pepperdine and has developed a reputation as a quality keeper who can come up with big saves in big games.

Concerns: Not many really, but Barker can sometimes be inconsistent and isn’t particularly known for her athleticism. However, she’s in a terrific situation in Portland where she can learn and grow as Karina LeBlanc’s backup.

 

Game of Thorns

So here is the official list of internationals allocated to the Thorns:

USWNT:  Rachel Beuhler (D), Alex Morgan (F) , Tobin Heath (M)

MWNT: Luz del Rosario Saucedo (D), Marlene Sandoval (D)

CWNT: Karina LeBlanc (GK), Christine Sinclair (F)

Just a couple of thoughts:

Obviously the combination of Morgan and Sinclair will make the Thorns’ attack a challenge for any of the other teams in this league.  I loved watching Sinclair play at Merlo and look forward to seeing her play again in Portland.

In the times I’ve seen her LeBlanc appears to be a steady keeper with safe hands; I would consider her a good addition to the team.

Beuhler is a workmanlike USWNT defender.  I am unfamiliar with either of the two Mexico players.  In addition, I cannot find a “Marlene Sandoval” listed for Las Tri – there is a “Rubí Sandoval” who is this player identified as a defender.  Both Mexican defenders are experienced (Saucedo is 27, Sandoval 28 assuming this is the right Sandoval) but with a side not well known for its steadiness in the back.

Overall, I like what we’re getting.  Onward, Rose City!

NWSL Announces List of 55 Allocated Players

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has announced the list of 55 U.S., Canadian and Mexican National Team players that will be allocated to the eight clubs.

Once the allocation process is completed, the club location for all 55 players will be announced on Friday, Jan. 11.

The breakdown of players by country:

United States (23)

Goalkeepers (4): Nicole Barnhart, Ashlyn Harris, Jill Loyden, Hope Solo

Defenders (7): Rachel Buehler, Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelley O’Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn

Midfielders (8): Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath, Lori Lindsey, Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Keelin Winters

Forwards (4): Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach

Canada (16)

Goalkeepers (2): Karina LeBlanc, Erin McLeod

Defenders (6): Melanie Booth, Robyn Gayle, Carmelina Moscato, Lauren Sesselmann, Rhian Wilkinson, Emily Zurrer

Defender/Midfielder (1): Bryana McCarthy

Midfielders (4): Kaylyn Kyle, Diana Matheson, Sophie Schmidt, Desiree Scott

Midfielders/Forwards (2): Adriana Leon, Jodi-Ann Robinson

Forward (1): Christine Sinclair

Mexico (16)

Goalkeepers (2): Aurora Cecilia Santiago Cisneros, Pamela Tajonar Alonso

Defenders (5): Alini Lisi Garciamendez Rowold, Jennifer Marie Ruiz Brown, Luz del Rosario Saucedo Soto, Rubi Marlene Sandoval Nungaray, Marylin Viridiana Diaz Ramirez

Midfielders (5): Veronica Raquel Perez Murillo, Teresa Noyola Bayardo, Lydia Nayeli Rangel Hernandez, Teresa Guadalupe Worbis Aguilar, Dinora Lizeth Garza Rodriguez

Forwards (4): Maribel Dominguez Castelan, Monica Ocampo Medina, Renae Nicole Cuellar Cuellar, Anisa Raquel Guajardo Braff

Some thoughts on the list of players:

* Originally, the number of allocated players was set at 52 (24 U.S, 16 Canada, 12 Mexico). Mexico was asked to add four players to the list so the distribution could be even (56 players total, 7 to each of the 8 clubs).

*  As you notice above, the U.S. only listed 23 players. Who’s missing? Olympic alternates Meghan Klingenberg and Christen Press are both committed to playing for Tyresö FF in Sweden.

* With the U.S. listing 23 players, that obviously means one team will have one less U.S. national team player. It will be interested to see how that plays out and whether that team will be awarded

* Players with Portland ties:

– Abby Wambach (recently purchased a home in Portland)

– Megan Rapinoe (former University of Portland player now playing in France with Olympique Lyonnais – she’ll return to NWSL about a month into the season)

– Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt (also former University of Portland players)

– If those four somehow get allocated to Portland, that will be quite a coup for Thorns FC.

With the club location for all 55 players coming up on Friday, who do you think goes where? 

 

NWSL College Draft to Take Place on Friday, Jan. 18

The National Women’s Soccer League announced a college draft will take place on Friday, January 18th at the NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis.

A total of 32 players will be selected in the four round draft. Only players who completed their college eligibility in 2012 will be available for selection in the draft. Players who have been out of college for more than a year, or former players in previous leagues, will be considered free agents. Signing of free agents will take place during a specific window of time, yet to be determined.

The announcement didn’t include any news on the allocation of U.S, Canadian and Mexican National Team players.

Full press release:

CHICAGO (Dec, 21, 2012) – The first National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft will take place on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, at the NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis.

The draft will consist of four rounds and the order will be determined by a blind draw. Once the order is set, the draft will be conducted in a “snake” format (i.e. the teams will select 1-8 in the first round, 8-1 in the second round, 1-8 in the third round and 8-1 in the fourth round). Teams will have a specific amount of time to make their picks in each round. A total of 32 players will be selected.

Players who completed their collegiate eligibility in 2012 can be selected in the 2013 NWSL College Draft. Those players who have been out of college for a year or more, are former professional players, or are currently playing overseas and are out of contract, are considered free agents. Teams will be allowed to sign free agents during a specific window of time, which will be determined soon. The U.S., Canadian and Mexican National Team players will be allocated to clubs at a date to be determined.

The start time of the draft will be announced in the near future, but fans will be able to follow the draft on Twitter @NWSL, through the league’s Facebook page and on the league’s yet-to-be launched website.

The draft is not open to the public or media, but following the draft, representatives from all eight clubs will be made available. The time and location for that event will also be announced in the near future.

“The forming of rosters is always an exciting part for teams and fans and an important step for our new league,” said NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey. “There are some extremely talented young players coming out of college this year and we are thrilled that there will be an environment for them to continue to grow as players and showcase themselves for international call-ups in the future.”

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is an eight-team league organized and administered by the U.S. Soccer Federation that will begin play in the spring of 2013. U.S. Soccer will subsidize the salaries of up to 24 U.S. Women’s National Team players while the Canadian Soccer Association will do the same for up to 16 Canadian players and the Federation of Mexican Football will do the same for up to 16 Mexican players. The eight founding clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Sky Blue FC (New York/New Jersey), Seattle Reign FC, the Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.

 

Thorns FC name Cindy Parlow Cone as head coach

Photo: Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC Athletic Comm.

Portland Thorns FC today named Cindy Parlow Cone, 34, one of the all-time leading scorers from the U.S. Women’s National Team, their first head coach for the inaugural season of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

While this is Parlow Cone’s first professional head coaching job, she definitely brings an impressive pedigree and potential to Thorns FC.

Playing Career
– Parlow Cone recorded 68 goals and 53 assists during her collegiate career at the University of North Carolina (1995-98), and is one of 10 players in the program’s history to record 40 or more goals and assists in a career.
– 158 matches as a forward (75 goals and 35 assists) with the U.S. Women’s National Team (1996-2004) which included a 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship and gold medals at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic games.
– Parlow Cone played in the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) for three seasons with the Atlanta Beat from 2001-03, leading the team to the postseason each season.

Awards/Honors
– Parlow Cone earned All-American honors all four years at UNC, won the Hermann Trophy in 1997 and 1998 as the nation’s top player and led the Tar Heels to back-to-back national titles in 1996 and 1997.
– Named the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 1998.
– Member of the 1999 U.S. Women’s National Team which was named Sports Illustrated’s 1999 Athlete of the Year.
– Inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004.

Coaching
– Parlow Cone holds a USSF “A” License and has participated in a FIFA Futuro III course.
– For the past six years, she has served as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, helping guide the team to national championships in 2009 and 2012.
– Also over the same time, Parlow Cone was the Director of Coaching for Senior Girls Programs (U-15 to U-18) at Triangle United Soccer Association in Chapel Hill, N.C.
– Served as a member of the U.S. U-14 and U-15 Girls National Team coaching staffs since 2010.

“It is very exciting to be part of a new women’s league and to be a part of launching a new professional team in Portland. I’ve seen first-hand the great enthusiasm Portland has for soccer; it’s a soccer-smart fan base that generates an incredible atmosphere. I am very much looking forward to the first season of Thorns FC.” – Cindy Parlow Cone

Now that a head coach has been named, next up for Thorns FC and the rest of the clubs in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) will be the announcement of the league schedule as well as the allocation of national team players.

We’ll have more news as it’s announced. What do you think of today’s Thorns FC news? Do you see Parlow Cone’s connections with the University of North Carolina as another positive for the club?

 

Official: Portland women named Portland Thorns FC

After weeks of anticipation, the new Portland women’s team finally has a name: Portland Thorns FC.

The Thorns FC crest was created by Portland artist Brent Diskin, an ardent local soccer supporter and member of the Timbers Army.

“Portland Thorns FC quickly emerged as a natural choice that was appropriate for the city and the culture of Soccer City, USA,” said Merritt Paulson, owner and president of the Timbers and Thorns FC. “And a nice side benefit of the name is the Army’s P-T-F-C chant doesn’t need much re-scripting for the women’s team.”

With some help of their friends from Girls, Inc., Thorns FC showed off their new logo and name in the video below.

In conjunction with today’s announcement, Thorns FC introduced the club’s official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PortlandThornsFC).

The unveiling begins

While Thursday is slated as the official announcement of the the Portland women’s soccer team name and logo, the Portland Timbers are providing fans some clues on their Facebook page.

Here are the first three clues:

I love how the unveiling includes young girls from  Girls Inc. of NW Oregon holding the pieces of the new logo. Kudos to the Portland organization on involving the local community in not only the logo design itself, but especially involving these youth in the unveiling.

Girls Inc. of NW Oregon is partner in the Portland Timbers Stand Together program. Their mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through life-changing programs and experiences that help girls navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

To follow the clues, visit the Timbers Facebook at: www.facebook.com/portlandtimbers