A clear goal: Thorns forward Christine Sinclair wants to bring another NWSL championship to Portland
Christine Sinclair isn’t someone who stops for much of anything. After spending much of March with the Canadian Women’s National Team in Cyprus, the former University of Portland star rushed back to the Rose City in time to join the Thorns as they left for their preseason matchups in Arizona. She’s now working with new head coach Paul Riley in preparation for the Thorns’ NWSL season-opener this Saturday against the expansion Houston Dash (5:00pm PT, webstream at www.PortlandThornsFC.com).
“He brings this energy to the game, to every practice,” said Sinclair of her new coach.
Co-leading the Thorns last year with eight goals , the team captain has a lot to live up to after last season's memorable and raucous run. Though Sinclair had seen first-hand at UP during her college days the excitement Portland generates for soccer, even she was surprised the fervor for the Thorns and NWSL in the Rose City.
“I don’t think any of us expected the fan support that we received. The sheer numbers of fans, just walking around town and having people recognizing you,” said Sinclair.
With the NWSL’s first-ever championship under their belt, everyone recognizes Sinclair and the Thorns now. With a target on their back and some of the league’s most recognizable players on the roster, the forward says she isn’t happy with simply being near the top of the league table come August.
“Our goal is to not only win another championship but to have it here. So we have to perform every game to ensure that we can host the final,” said Sinclair.
In order to bring the NWSL Championship Game to Providence Park, the Thorns will need to not only make a run through the single-elimination playoffs at the end of summer, but finish the regular season with more points than their competition.
That’s no small task, but with Riley’s attacking style and Sinclair’s help, the Thorns hope to once again bring home a title to Oregon, where Sinclair feels soccer is paramount.
“Having experienced the atmosphere here last year, there is nowhere else I could imagine playing,” she said. “This is the absolute perfect place to play soccer.”