The Oregonian's Geoffrey Arnold chatted with Thorns FC's first-round draft pick Kathryn Williamson to get the story on how she found out she was drafted. She apparently had some pretty excited friends.
"They were on computers and I was on Twitter on my phone. I guess their computer was faster than my phone, because they started screaming and said I got drafted," Williamson said. "I thought they were joking, because it hadn't come up on my phone yet. I'm like, 'That is a really mean joke.'"
But of course, it was not a joke at all. Williamson was the club's inaugural first-ever NWSL Draft selection on Friday--an honor that she quickly warmed to.
So thankful and excited to start a new chapter of my life with the Portland thorns @thornsfc!
— Kat Williamson (@KatWilliamson7) January 18, 2013
Williamson's new teammates were also excited to have more players on the Thorns squad:
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 18, 2013
— Karina LeBlanc (@karinaleblanc) January 18, 2013
Check out Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone's take on the new crop:
Clearly, the day had plenty of fun and promise.
New Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc is no wallflower. Personable, charismatic, and fearless in asking anyone for an interview, she is currently with the Canadian Women's National Team in China at the Yongchuan Cup.
Frustrated by her Canadian and now Thorns FC teammate Christine Sinclair coming in last amongst Asian voters in the recent Ballon d'Or voting, LeBlanc went to the streets of Yongchuan with her famous KK Cam to help spread the good word of the merits of Ms. Sinclair.
I have a feeling we'll be seeing some more of KK Cam in the Portland Thorns FC future.
After today's NWSL allocation of national team players, much of the early chatter has been about the incredible forward pairing of Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair. And with good reason. Combined, the pair scored 51 goals over 53 matches for the United States and Canada in 2012.
But perhaps the steal of the day was in acquiring midfielder Tobin Heath. Long considered one of the best up-and-coming midfielders on the USWNT, Heath won three NCAA national championships with the University of North Carolina. Her final one, in 2009, had current Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone as an assistant on the team.
But it is also known in soccer circles that Heath is a master of the trick shot and ball skills. A while back, while on the road with the USWNT, Heath went on a simple walkabout. But this is hardly the simple walkabout you and I might make. WATCH:
Tip of the hat to soccer writer Charles Boehm.
If ever there was a sense that a rising tide lifts all boats in the new NWSL, it's this:
— Alyse LaHue (@alahue) January 3, 2013
Alyse LaHue just happens to be the general manager of fellow NWSL club Chicago Red Stars.
And the numbers are certainly growing, Timbers/Thorns FC owner and president Merritt Paulson had this Twitter update earlier today:
Your unofficial @thornsfc Season Tix deposit tracker: 3,500+. that's w/o players & pricing announced (hopefully both will elicit increase..)
— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) January 3, 2013
In it together, indeed.
Want to make your own Thorns FC season ticket deposit? Details right here.
Liviu Bird of EqualizerSoccer.com--one of the best sources for women's soccer news and content that you should now bookmark--tracked down U.S. women's national team coaching legend Tony DiCicco to ask him a few questions about his former player and now new Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone.
“She was a student of the game as a player,” former national team head coach Tony DiCicco said in a phone interview. “It’s awesome to have her get this chance. I think she’ll learn a lot, and I think she’ll be really good.”
DiCicco expects Parlow Cone’s learning curve to be short in the new league.
“I think you’ll find that she’ll play a possession style,” he said. “I think you’ll see some of the UNC aggressiveness in her coaching.”
DiCicco is a pretty good authority having led the USWNT to their famous World Cup triumph in 1999--a team Parlow was a key member of.
Bonus tidbit: DiCicco described the first time he and his assistant, and UNC legend Anson Dorrance brought Parlow into national team camp, in 1994. She was training with the U16 national team, and the coaches thought, “Hey, let’s bring that tall, red-headed kid in here. She looks like a player,” DiCicco recalled.
Thad Bell of the Kansas City Soccer Examiner has been doing some good reporting on some of the details around the new NWSL. In a recent article, he talks about national team player allocations and how Mexico is upping their player commitment, salary cap figures, sponsor information and more.
Caleb Porter and the University of Akron Zips cruised to their ninth Mid-America Conference Tournament Championship overall and fifth in the last six seasons with a 2-0 victory over Northern Illinois University yesterday. Goals by Wil Trapp and Saad Abdul-Salaam led the way.
The game extended the Zips' run of 47 games without a loss in MAC play—a streak that goes all the way back to 2007. Prior to beating NIU, UA was victorious in the tournament semifinals on Friday with a 5-0 mauling of Bowling Green.
The Zips, who posted their 16th shutout of the season on Sunday, have won their last 14 games and are unbeaten in their 15. UA has earned a clean sheet in each of its last six matches and has allowed just goal in its last 1,361 minutes of play.
Listen to to head coach Porter talk about the championship win and watch highlights from the game:
Fresh from their big win, UA went on to acquire the 5th seed in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship tournament. With the high seed, they receive a bye into the second round and will host the winner of Niagra and the University of Michigan on Nov. 18. Bright Dike’s alma mater, Notre Dame, received the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
The Portland Pilots women had an emotional weekend themselves as they pulled out a win on penalties against the Washington State Cougars Friday night at Merlo Field in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Pilots junior goalkeeper Erin Dees made three (!) saves during the penalty shootout before WSU’s final attempt flew over the bar.
The Pilots had fallen behind twice before rallying to draw even at 2-2. WCC Defender of the Year Kendall Johnson—who played her high school soccer in the shadow of JELD-WEN Field at Lincoln High—got Portland on the scoreboard just before the half while Michelle Cruz found the equalizer.
Watch the thrilling highlights and see Dees’ string of saves here:
UP next face Michigan at State College, PA on Friday, Nov. 16 in the next round of the NCAA tournament.
Caleb Porter and his University of Akron Zips wrapped up their regular season last week with back-to-back shutout wins. On Wednesday, they beat Michigan State 1-0 and then followed that up with a 2-0 win over Western Michigan back at home on Senior Night.
The earlier win over the Spartans was also historic as it gave senior goalkeeper David Meves his 51st career shutout thus breaking the NCAA all-time shutouts mark previously held by Josh Ford.
Meves, who has already set school records for wins (73) and minutes played (8,138), has started 89 games – posting a career mark 73-7-9 – during his historic career and has allowed just 45 goals in more than 8,138 minutes of play for a goals-against-average of 0.50. Not surprisingly, Meves was named National Player of the Week by College Soccer News Monday.
Porter’s team has out-scored their last 11 opponents by a count of 30-1 and UA has yet to trail in a game at home this season. Perhaps most excitingly for the Zips is they now are the No. 1 ranked NCAA Division 1 team in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
The Zips next host Bowling Green on Friday at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field in the MAC Conference Championships semifinal. The game also marked the final home regular season match for Caleb Porter as head coach at UA before taking over the helm in Portland this winter. The AK ROWDIES supporters group made this special banner, signed by numerous fans, to hold aloft at the match:
Thank You Coach Porter twitter.com/AK_BigChief/st…
— Ian Tayek (@AK_BigChief) November 4, 2012
Elsewhere in college soccer, Timbers U-23s forward Mark Sherrod scored three goals last week, leading to a pair of Memphis victories, and today was named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week. He has 12 goals and 28 points on the season, both tied for second in the conference. MLSsoccer.com also spoke of Sherrod's exploits in their lates MLS on Campus feature.
The University of Portland Pilots men’s and women’s team had a busy weekend celebrating. The women rolled to a 5-0 win over University of San Francisco (Watch Match Highlights) and then gathered together Monday to find their NCAA tournament fate.
With an 11-4-4 overall record, the Pilots received an at large bid to play Washington State this Friday at Merlo Field at 7pm. It is UP’s 13th straight appearance in the NCAA Postseason and their 20th appearance overall during the last 21 years.
The men’s side celebrated Senior Day with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over first-place San Diego Toros. Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans had the game-tying assist and game winning goal in the win. It was Evans’ 14th goal of 2012 putting him atop the WCC league lead with fellow Timbers U-23s player and Santa Clara forward Erik Hurtado.
Portland State women’s soccer wrapped up their season Saturday with a 3-2 loss to Montana in the Big Sky tournament semifinals. Despite an end to the season, the campaign was one of the most successful seasons in program history. The Vikings won their second straight Big Sky regular season championship (shared with Idaho State & Montana) while finishing with the third-best record in school history at 9-8-2 overall and 6-2-1 in conference. Nine players made the Big Sky All-Conference team—a program high.
Earlier this week, US Soccer announced the new head coach for the USWNT in Tom Sermanni. Taking over from the Olympic winning and team favorite Pia Sundhage, Sermanni has a tall order to keep the USWNT at the peak of women's global soccer. He spoke to USsoccer.com about taking over the team.
And while Sermanni is the coach, for a short while, KICKTV's Jimmy Conrad claimed to be in charge of the team:
While Alex Morgan is no stranger to joking around, it appears at the beginning of the video that she may have bought into the ruse for just a moment.
The actual USWNT will be coming to Portland on Nov. 28 to host the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at JELD-WEN Field. US Soccer announced their ticket pricing information earlier this week and the presale starts today. Neither Conrad nor Sermanni will be at the helm when the team is here, however, as US Soccer women's development director Jill Ellis will fill in in the interim.
Caleb Porter's University of Akron Zips continued their stellar 2012 run with two big wins last week, both of which marked special milestones.
Last Tuesday night, goalkeeper David Meves became the school's all-time shutouts leader in a 1-0 decision at Ohio State. Junior Reinaldo Brenes scored his ninth goal in seventh matches and Meves made a season high six saves in the match. Meves' 49th career clean sheet surpassed current Montreal Impact 'keeper Evan Bush who set the record during the 2005-08 seasons.
"I thought it was very fitting for [Meves] to do it today because he bailed us out on several occasions,” said Coach Porter after the game. “We probably don’t win that game, if it’s not for him.”
On Saturday, the Zips wrapped up their eighth-straight MAC regular season title with a 4-0 win over Hartwick. Defender Chad Barson—who could sign a Homegrown contract with Columbus in the offseason—scored for UA and helped lead the team to their second shutout in a row.
As a result, the Zips (13-1-2, 6-0-0 MAC) earned the right to host the MAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed from Nov. 9-11 at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. Coach Porter has won the conference title in each of his seven seasons at Akron. The team is now ranked No. 2 in the country behind unbeaten Maryland and over the last 10 games, the Zips have scored 28 goals and conceded only one.
Closer to home, in a battle of Timbers U-23s teammates, Steven Evans and Ricardo Carrillo’s University of Portland prevailed over Erik Hurtado’s Santa Clara University 2-1 on a nationally televised game on FOX Soccer. Evans put the Pilots up in the 37th minute with his WCC-leading 12th goal but it was Carrillo who sealed the win with a spectacular 110th minute goal in overtime.
Evans added to his goal scoring exploits with his 13th goal on Sunday though the Pilots lost to St. Mary’s 3-2. They next play at Merlo Field on Friday at 7pm against Loyola Marymount and then on Sunday versus San Diego at 1pm.
Their female Pilots counterparts had a productive weekend. On Friday night, down 1-0 at the half to No. 18 Pepperdine, UP roared back with three goals in twelve minutes to win 3-1 behind two goals from Michelle Cruz and a a gamewinner from Amanda Frisbie. Watch Frisbie’s nutmeg game winner here. Then on Sunday, with former Pilots and current USWNT star Megan Rapinoe in attendance, UP downed LMU 2-0. Watch highlights here.
Incidentally, Rapinoe has been making the rounds in Portland, here she is enjoying Bright Dike's game-tying goal against San Jose in the Timbers 2012 season finale Saturday night. (Photo via beIN Sport's Temryss Lane):
— Temryss Lane (@TemryssLane) October 28, 2012
Down I-5, Oregon State University’s and Timbers U-23s forward Emery Welshman became the first Beavers player to hit double digits in goals since current Timbers forward Danny Mwanga did it in 2009. Welshman scored in a 2-1 loss to PAC-12 rival UCLA.
In other Timbers U-23s news, midfielder Eric Miller of Creighton played with the US U-20’s recently in Spain at the Marabella Cup. Read this TopDrawerSoccer.com story about how Miller and the other collegiate players on the team are balancing the international dates with their university commitments.