PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today announced that the club has acquired the rights to midfielder Lianne Sanderson and a 2016 first-round draft pick from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for Portland’s 2016 first-round and third-round draft picks. Possessing a green card, Sanderson would not occupy an international roster spot for Portland. Per league and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Sanderson, 27, has scored 15 goals and earned 49 international caps for the England Women’s National Team, appearing in two FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments for the Three Lionesses (2007, 2015). At the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Sanderson played in two matches, including a 1-0 win over Germany in the third-place game as she drew a penalty kick in extra time that led to the game-winning goal by Fara Williams.
“Lianne is a bona fide creator with ability to hurt you with a final ball or beat you on the dribble,” said Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley. “Having had the pleasure of coaching her before I understand what she brings both on the field and in the locker room. She loves competition, she revels in a great team spirit and her ability with the ball will be a massive plus for us.”
At the club level, Sanderson has competed at the highest levels professionally in the United States, England, Cyprus and Spain. Most recently, Sanderson played with English side Arsenal Ladies, re-signing with the club in November 2014. Sanderson began her professional career with Arsenal at the youth level as a nine year old in 1997 and began playing with the first team in 2003. Following her time at Arsenal, Sanderson moved to Chelsea Ladies in 2008, playing two seasons. In addition, Sanderson had professional stints with Espanyol (2011-12) in Spain and on loan at Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.
Before returning to Arsenal ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Sanderson played in the NWSL during the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Boston Breakers. In two seasons with the club, Sanderson appeared in 41 games (38 starts), tallying 10 goals and 10 assists, while garnering NWSL Second XI honors in 2013.
During her time in England, Sanderson won five league titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal. Notably during the 2006-07 campaign, Sanderson scored 48 goals across all competitions, helping lead the team to the quadruple (Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup) and also led the league in scoring during both the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns.
Sanderson also played in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) under the direction of Riley with the Philadelphia Independence in 2010 and 2011. In two seasons, she helped lead the club to consecutive appearances in the WPS Championship match, scoring 10 goals.
Additionally, defender Rhian Wilkinson has been placed on the disabled list for Thorns FC.
Born: Feb. 3, 1988
Hometown: London, England
Last Club: Arsenal Ladies FC (England)