Portland Thorns FC rookie Kathryn Williamson playing like established veteran
Portland Thorns FC rookie defender Kathryn Williamson had the distinct honor of being the first player drafted by the team in the inaugural 2013 NWSL season. Since then, Williamson has stepped into her role on the backline and hasn’t skipped a beat. The former University of Florida standout has played every minute of the Thorns season to date.
“I can’t believe that Kat’s a rookie,” said Thorns head coach Cindy Parlow Cone. “She’s so good on the ball, she’s good tactically, she’s a tough tackler, and she’s just giving us so much in that backline.”
The entire team appreciates the mature play of Williamson, especially veteran goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. LeBlanc, who has over 100 caps for the Canadian National Women’s Team knows a thing or two about quality defending. After drawing 1-1 with the Western New York Flash, LeBlanc spoke to the maturity of Williamson and her tremendous performance marking the world class forward Abby Wambach.
“Kat stood up to her like a veteran, and I loved it. She wasn’t afraid, she went after her,” said LeBlanc.
Williamson says playing every minute of 2013 is a cool individual mark, but is quick to add that it only has happened because of a complete team effort.
“Certainly you can’t win games and lose games based upon one person, so I think that it takes everybody to show up and play,” Williamson said after training at JELD-WEN Field. “I definitely think that I have awesome supporting people around me to help me out.”
That support is made up of veteran defenders Rachel Buehler, Marian Dougherty, and Nikki Marshall, all of whom have helped the team concede only 14 goals—the stingiest defense in the league. Williamson says she has learned a lot playing alongside them all season.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play next to—and against—some of the best players there are,” said Williamson. “It was a little bit intimidating at first, but they’re such easy people to play with and they’re so willing to communicate and teach what they know to me.”
As a collective unit, the back line and the rest of the team have their sights set on the remainder of the season with one ultimate goal in mind.
“Obviously, every team is trying to get into the playoffs,” said Williamson. “They’re trying to win a championship. That’s our focus, but it takes playing one game at a time. What can I do this game to improve?”
In the mean time, the Texas native says she has enjoyed her time training and playing with the team, but has also enjoyed exploring Portland.
“I actually had never been here before,” said Williamson. “I was fortunate enough to have Danielle Foxhoven—who has been here for about six years—show me around. The food is definitely my favorite part, not to mention all of the trees. Being from Dallas, I don’t see many mountains, so that was really cool for me. I’m just really enjoying it here.”