Thorns FC announce broadcast details for 2013 season

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC announced today that all 11 of the club’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) home matches will be broadcast on Freedom 970 AM, with all 22 matches available via live web stream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.

All NWSL home teams will provide live streaming video of their matches, which will be made available on www.portlandthornsfc.com for the club’s home and away games. All games at JELD-WEN Field will be streamed in high definition. On the road, the host team’s web stream will be provided.

Starting with Portland’s inaugural home match on April 21 against Seattle Reign FC, veteran sports broadcaster Ann Schatz will provide play-by-play with former University of Portland All-American goalkeeper Angela Harrison adding analysis as the broadcast team on Freedom 970 AM.

Schatz joins the Thorns FC broadcast team with more than 30 years of experience in the sports broadcasting field. After moving to the Rose City in 1989, Schatz worked at KOIN-TV before becoming the sideline reporter for Portland Trail Blazers basketball from 1999 until 2005. She turned her focus to the college ranks working with CBS Sports and, most recently, the Pac-12 Network calling women’s soccer, basketball and softball games. Originally from Omaha, Neb., Schatz played both basketball and softball at Creighton University, where she earned a degree in journalism and mass communications.

Harrison, a standout goalkeeper for the University of Portland from 1996-99, joins the Thorns FC broadcast team after three years as a radio analyst for the Pilots. Playing under the direction of Clive Charles, Harrison finished her collegiate career ranked sixth all-time in the program’s record books in both saves (132) and shutouts (24.5). A Soccer Buzz All-America selection in 1997, Harrison went on to win two USL W-League championships with the Boston Renegades in 2001 and 2002. She returned to Portland and was awarded an MBA from the University of Portland in 2005. In addition to broadcasting, Harrison has been a longtime youth soccer coach, developing numerous goalkeepers for the youth national team and college ranks. She currently serves as the director of operations for the Oregon Premier League.

 

Thorns FC announces the club’s season-opening roster

Portland Thorns FC today announced the team’s season-opening roster for the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League season.

Led by head coach Cindy Parlow Cone, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with 158 career appearances and 75 goals for the U.S. Women’s National Team, and assistant coaches John Galas and Nate Berry, Thorns FC enter the regular season with a deep and experienced roster, featuring a total of 15 players with experience at the youth or senior national team level for the United States or Canada.

Some notes on the Thorns FC roster:

* U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Tobin Heath is not listed on the active roster, but is expected to join the team following the completion of her contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

* NWSL First Round draft pick Kathryn Williamson made the final roster but Forward Nicolette Radovcic and goalkeeper Roxanne Barker –  picks in the second and fourth rounds, respectively – were waived. Third round pick Amber Brooks is currently playing in Germany for Bayern Munich.

* NWSL Supplemental Draft picks who made the roster include: Angie Kerr, Jessica Shufelt and Marian Dougherty

* Free agent signings who made the roster: Allie Long, Nikki Marshall, Nikki Washington and Becky Edwards, make up some of the club’s more experienced professional players.

* Discovery players who made the roster include: Jazmyne Avant, Meleana Shim, Courtney Wetzel, Danielle Foxhoven, Emilee O’Neil and Adelaide Gay.

Thorns FC start the 2013 NWSL regular season on Saturday, April 13, against FC Kansas City at Shawnee Mission District Stadium in Overland Park, Kan.; kickoff is set for 5:35 p.m. (Pacific). Thorns FC return to the Rose City for the team’s home-opening match against Seattle Reign FC on Sunday, April 21 at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. (Pacific).

Budding Thorns

The reserve squad for the Portland Thorns FC played a preseason friendly last night at Merlo Field, the home pitch for the Portland Pilots.  The result – a 2-1 win for the visitors – was almost immaterial.  The internationals never even dressed out; there was obviously no intention to field the side we’re going to see in about three weeks.  The plan (and the successful result) was to provide a test for the college-product Thorns.

My bride and I took a pleasant walk through our North Portland neighborhood to join the crowd – and the match drew almost 5,000 people to the pretty green-and-purple stadium just west of Willamette Boulevard – that watched the teams test each other.  While the following are just snapshots of the state of the Thorns, I did get a sense of how the junior members of the team are shaping;

1.  The overall level of play was not too disparate.  This wasn’t a college squad overmatched by a team of pros; it was a good college team against a team of college all stars.  While nobody in purple was of the quality of, say, Allie Long or Nikki Washington, nobody in the gray-and-red Thorns practice strip was that much better than Kaila Cameli or Nichole Downing.

2.  The Thorns reserves either had some early pre-season rust to buff off or weren’t used to playing without the internationals (and given that the latter had only reported several weeks ago it was probably the former).  The team came out looking pawky and out of synch, especially in back.  The Pilots had several good counters early that resulted in the early goal.  This was, in part, because the Thorns played an exceptionally high backline and were caught ballwatching several times.

3.  The Thorns still need to work on their defensive nous and communication among their defenders and between their midfield, defenders, and goalkeeper.  Even in the 88th minute giveaways in midfield and poor marking allowed a Pilot counter that had goalkeeper Roxanne Barker isolated on an charging Pilot forward who just couldn’t gain control in time to shoot on frame.  I’m sure Parlow-Cone will have some words with the defenders on Monday.

4.  Speaking of goalkeepers, the Thorns might want to keep an eye on Nichole Downing.  The Pilots keeper – only a sophomore, too! – was terrific, making several point-blank saves and keeping the scoreline close.  If she continues to improve she will be a great pick for some NWSL team in a year or two.

5.  Allie Long is the real deal.  Her goal – a 22-yard rocket – was lovely, and she was a continuous menace to the Pilots defense that otherwise handled the Thorns attack fairly decently.

6.  Overall the Thorns look…well, something rather like this year’s Timbers.  Possession football with some intelligent movement off the ball and (after a bit of sorting-out) some precise passing.  A defense that consistently pushes up the pitch and, as a result, is vulnerable to the quick counter.  Solid but not brilliant keeping.

The crowd sounded evenly divided between Thorn and Pilot supporters, and both seemed well-pleased with the teams’ performance.  The Purple Passions (or whatever the University of Portland supporters group calls itself) provided a local counterpoint to the small Thorns Alliance contingent and some unintentional comedy – for all that they had the drums that the Thorns supporters didn’t they clearly haven’t worked up their own chants; Timbers Army veterans got a smile from hearing “Portland Boys We Are Hear” coming from the far end of the pitch for a change.

The Thorns seem to be absorbing the culture of their brother club; the team trotted down to the West End and applauded their supporters as Merlo emptied out.

Two weeks until the Thorns’ first match and the buds appear ready to open.

Thorns FC Release 2013 NWSL Season Schedule

Portland Thorns FC will open the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season on Saturday, April 13, against FC Kansas City at Shawnee Mission District Stadium, it was announced today with the release of the full, 22-game 2013 NWSL schedule.

Thorns FC will square off against Seattle Reign FC on Sunday, April 21, in the home opener at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (Pacific).

The club will play 11 home matches, all at JELD-WEN Field, and 11 away matches during the five-month season. The eight-team league features a single table, and Thorns FC will play an unbalanced schedule; hosting the Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Seattle Reign FC and Sky Blue FC twice at home. Portland must travel twice to face Boston, Chicago, FC Kansas City and Seattle.

Highlighting the Thorns FC schedule are two home matches against Pacific Northwest rival Seattle Reign FC on Sunday, April 21 and Sunday, June 16, as well as a marquee home match against U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach and the Western New York Flash on Sunday, July 14.

Also scheduled are three Saturday-Sunday pairings with the Portland Timbers. The weekend pairings are June 15-16 (Timbers vs. FC Dallas, June 15/Thorns FC vs. Seattle, June 16); July 13-14 (Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, July 13/Thorns FC vs. Western New York, July 14) and Aug. 3-4 (Timbers vs. Vancouver, Aug. 3/Thorns FC vs. FC Kansas City, Aug. 4).

The regular season will conclude the weekend of Aug. 18 with the top four teams qualifying for the NWSL playoffs.

Thorns FC is scheduled to open training camp in March.

Schedule Breakdown:

Home Dates by Day of the Week:
Wednesday (1), Thursday (2), Saturday (2), Sunday (6)
Road Dates by Day of the Week:
Wednesday (1), Saturday (7), Sunday (3)

Home Dates by Month:
April (1), May (2), June (3), July (4), August (1)
Road Dates by Month:
April (2), May (3), June (2), July (1), August (3)

2013 Portland Thorns FC Schedule (home matches in bold, CAPS)

Date Opponent Kickoff (Pacific) Venue
Saturday, April 13 @FC Kansas City 5:35 p.m. Shawnee Mission District Stadium
Sunday, April 21 SEATTLE REIGN FC 2 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Saturday, April 27 @Chicago Red Stars 5 p.m. Benedictine University Sports Complex
Saturday, May 4 @Washington Spirit 4 p.m. Maryland SoccerPlex
Sunday, May 12 @Chicago Red Stars 3 p.m. Benedictine University Sports Complex
Thursday, May 16 SKY BLUE FC 7:30 p.m.  JELD-WEN Field
Sunday, May 19 WASHINGTON SPIRIT 2 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Saturday, May 25 @Seattle Reign FC 7 p.m. Starfire Sports Complex
Saturday, June 1 CHICAGO RED STARS 7:30 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Thursday, June 6 FC KANSAS CITY 7:30 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Sunday, June 16 SEATTLE REIGN FC 2 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Saturday, June 22 @Sky Blue FC 4 p.m. Yurcak Field
Sunday, June 30 @FC Kansas City 1:10 p.m. Shawnee Mission District Stadium
Saturday, July 6 BOSTON BREAKERS 7:30 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Sunday, July 14 WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH 2 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Sunday, July 21 @Boston Breakers 1 p.m. Dilboy Stadium
Sunday, July 28 CHICAGO RED STARS 2 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Wednesday, July 31 SKY BLUE FC 7:30 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Sunday, Aug. 4 FC KANSAS CITY 2 p.m. JELD-WEN Field
Wednesday, Aug. 7 @Boston Breakers 4 p.m. Dilboy Stadium
Saturday, Aug. 10 @Western New York Flash 4:35 p.m. Sahlen’s Stadium
Saturday, Aug. 17 @Seattle Reign FC 8 p.m. Starfire Sports Complex

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?