Thorns FC: Ha det, Michelle!

Remember back in November when we discussed the Thorns’ backline and keepers and I said this: “We’ve got some questions to answer and the questions are; should Franch be starting?  If she is, will Betos be good with moving to the bench?  If not, will Franch be okay with a full season riding the pine?  Should the team consider trading one or the other and signing, say, Emily Kruger, or trading for a younger backup?”

Well, it turns out that Michelle was the one who wasn’t okay with chancing a full season riding the pine.  Today she announced her signing with Vålerenga Fotball Damer in the Norwegian Toppserien.  More…and a little glimpse of Michelle’s new team…below the fold.

I know that I will miss Betos as a person.  I love her spirit, and she just seems like a genuinely good human being.  Her teammates seem to love her, and that says a lot about her.

But…as a goalkeeper?  I think we’re in safe hands.  As I mentioned in the November post, Franch was the better ‘keeper in 2016 technically, and I am confident that she has the respect and confidence of her team tactically.  The club will be fine with A.D. in goal.

Meanwhile the team Michelle is going to – Vålerenga – is the new kid on the Toppserien block.  The first Norwegian women’s side to earn promotion (in 2011), VFD is Oslo’s “second team” behind Røa, a 13-season veteran of the Toppserien.  Since promotion Vålerenga has never finished higher than fifth and has been in the bottom of the table flirting with relegation for the past three years, including a scary 10th-of-12 in 2015.

However, the club appears to be on a spending spree.  Along with Michelle, Vålerenga has recently signed Elise Krieghoff and Stephanie Verdoia from the Boston Breakers as well as Theresa Nielsen of the Danish national side and Brøndby in the Toppserien, Teigan Allen (Australia and Melbourne City), Thorunn Jónsdóttir (Iceland and Avaldsnes), and Isabell Bårdsgjære from Røa.  It appears as though Michelle’s new club has ambitions of glory, and sees her as a part of that ambition.

But…as nice as this is for Michelle it brings us back to the 2017 draft.

Remember that one of the things I was a trifle concerned about was not taking a backup ‘keeper?

Well…now we need to be concerned about not having a backup keeper.

I don’t think we need to be very concerned.  There’s a ton of quality several NCAA ‘keepers that didn’t get drafted this year;: Lindsey Harris from UNC (Chris Henderson’s #25 overall draft prediction) (nope: playing in Iceland – thanks, Dug), Kailen Sheridan out of Clemson (Henderson #36, Top Drawer #31) (my bad – she was taken at #28 by Sky Blue – both Dug and Brian caught that) Cassie Miller from FSU (Top Drawer #21 overall) or Laura Clem of Northwestern (Top Drawer #45).

Emily Kruger – Portland’s amateur backup over two seasons – seems to be still available.  And there’s still the open tryouts coming up later this winter.  I’m confident that the club will find a solid backup out of those options.

So while I and many of us will miss Michelle’s happy smile…I have no tears.

Well…maybe a small one.

Thank you, Michelle, goodbye, and måtte hell og lykke følge deg!

9 Comments Thorns FC: Ha det, Michelle!

  1. Dug

    > There’s a ton of quality NCAA ‘keepers that didn’t get drafted this year; Lindsey Harris from UNC (Chris Henderson’s #25 overall draft prediction), Cassie Miller from FSU (Top Drawer #21 overall), of Kailen Sheridan out of Clemson (Henderson #36, Top Drawer #31).

    Sheridan was drafted by Sky Blue #28 overall and is already a Canadian NWSL allocation:

    Lindsey Harris already signed with FH in Iceland:

    1. John Lawes

      Ah! My bad on Sheridan, and I even pulled open the draft results to check. But thanks for the catch on Harris. Fixed

  2. Brian Fredricks

    One quick correction – Kailen Sheridan was taken by Sky Blue at #23 of the draft.

    I also am more than fine with AD starting this year and even feel that having two obvious #1 keepers like last year was overkill. Hopefully Betos departure will allow the Thorns to add more quality depth at another position like outside back.

    1. John Lawes

      Well, I think her slot will be filled with her backup, so I’m not sure that this will get the team any closer to the “depth in midfield and defense” I’d hoped to see from the draft (barring a Lussi-to-fullback-conversion-success”, perhaps.

      But, yeah…the point really is that both players deserve a shot at starting. We were lucky A.D. was here to cover for Michelle’s shoulder injury, but in the course of a normal season she’d have wasted a year of her career.

    2. John Lawes

      And I should add that I’ve heard a rumor that Em Menges isn’t signed yet. THAT needs to be a priority most quick smart. Before we start worrying about adding depth in the backline we need to lock down the Great Wall of Emily…

  3. Timber Dave

    Yo! What’s with Thorns goalkeepers using initials that are not their own?!! First it was Karina Chenelle “KK” LeBlanc, now it’s Adrianna Nichole “AD” Franch!

    If two of them did it, it must be a Trend. Either that or a Conspiracy, and in either case it’s obviously news that hasn’t received nearly enough attention in Portland soccer fandom.

    -Timber “TZ” Dave

    1. John Lawes

      I never really thought about that.

      I think Karina’s was more of a nickname: “KayKay” only with just the letters. But Franch uses the “A.D.” semi-officially, so I’m not sure what the deal on that is. Hmm. I should see if Jamie Goldberg knows next time she does an open thread at the O.


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