It may only be January, but it has been a busy month for the defending NWSL champions Portland Thorns. To get you caught up, and maybe a little psyched for Spring, here is a rundown of all the Thorns news you need to know and may have missed.
The NWSL announced the dates of the 2018 season. However, if you know anyone in the league who does not have a Twitter account, you might want to give them a heads up.
Once again, the NWSL made for some unfortunate grumblings about how it treats its players. Even the NWSL Players Association was caught off-guard about the latest announcement via social media instead, say, a direct email from the league or a meeting with the players.
Excited for the upcoming season but VERY disappointed that we as players have to find this out on Twitter. That has been our single request of the league. Please have the courtesy to send us this information before it goes public. https://t.co/5KPYPMxN5M
— NWSL Players Assoc (@NWSL_PA) January 16, 2018
This is not the first time the league has treated its athletes with a certain amount of disrespect.
Things in Rochester are…snug. Apparently, approximately 58×100. #NWSL #WNYvSEA pic.twitter.com/u0m5lSzw7p
— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) July 9, 2016
It seems odd that the league would continue to make missteps like this, as minor as it may seem. After all, most soccer athletes play year-round and with the league just a short two months away from beginning, travel plans need to be made and practices to be scheduled. Which is why not notifying the players first in some form or another seems odd.
Goodbye to an Original
Earlier this month, the Thorns traded away Allie Long to the Seattle Reign in exchange for Australian forward Caitlin Foord and a 2020 conditional second-round pick.
Long is an original member of the inaugural 2013 club that won the first ever NWSL championship, scoring the go-ahead goal in the 2013 semifinals that helped lead the Thorns to the title. Long won her second title with the Thorns last year.
Allie was steady player for the Thorns. She appeared in 100 matches in five seasons, recorded 30 goals and 13 assists.
Long leaves Portland to perhaps gain more playing time in Seattle. Portland’s roster is among the deepest in the league and she was seen on the sidelines more this past year compared to recent seasons.
It will be odd seeing her wear Seattle green, but when she comes back to Portland, expect nothing but a standing ovation for Long. Fans have nothing but appreciating for all she has done for the team and the community.
Tobin Heath Auditions for Indiana Jones
Well, this is not a picture you want to see from your best player.
Here is Tobin Heath walking out of an addition for the next Indiana Jones movie. It obviously went well. She has a smile on her face and is still wearing her prop hat. The two women in the picture look relieved that the audition is over. Heath must have made a good impression on Steven Spielberg. This is all very bad for the Thorns if Heath goes Hollywood.
But, then you look closer, or just at anything besides her awesome hat, and you see her with crutches.
Turns out, Heath only had minor ankle surgery to remove a bone spur from her right ankle that had been plaguing her for some time.
Thank goodness. I thought it was something serious to worry about!
Hopefully, 2018 will be a healthier year for Heath after this latest attempt to get her back to full strength.
The NWSL College Draft was held on Thursday and Portland held the No.8, No.9 and No.29 picks.
With the first two picks, the Thorns selected midfielders Sandra Tu from Notre Dame and Gabby Seiler from the University of Florida. With the No.29 pick, the Thorns selected someone local, goalkeeper Bella Geist from Oregon State University.
Geist, who is from my hometown of Milwaukie, Oregon, went to Rex Putnam High School, the school my daughter could very well end up enrolling in. So, we already have a new favorite Thorn to keep an eye on. I, however, went to rival Milwaukie High School, and now have to figure out my alliances lie this coming year.
Huge congrats to @bellageist, who has been selected by @ThornsFC with the 29th pick in the #NWSLdraft! #GoBeavs pic.twitter.com/ASQLPm3zJD
— Oregon State Women’s Soccer (@beaverwsoccer) January 18, 2018
Finally, congrats to midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir, who is pregnant and will most likely miss the 2018 season!
And there you have it. You are all caught up on the Thorns’ offseason. The 2018 season begins the weekend of March 24. Spring is just around the corner.