Thorns FC Q&A: Lindsey Horan thrilled with opportunity to play in Portland: "I’m so excited"

Portland Thorns FC announced the U.S. Women’s National Team allocation acquisition today of forward Lindsey Horan. Horan spent the last four years with Paris Saint-Germain in France’s Division 1 Féminine and is set to make her NWSL debut this spring in Portland. A mainstay of the U.S. Women’s National Team youth set-up for the U-17 and U-20 teams, Horan made her senior team debut in 2013, scored her first career USWNT goal last month and is currently training with them in Carson, Calif. as part of the January training camp in preparation for this summer’s Brazil Olympics.

Horan, who signed with PSG out of high school in Colorado, is keen for her new challenges. We talked with her on a break between training sessions to learn more about her experiences in France and her path to Portland.

Brian Costello:
How excited are you to become a part of Portland Thorns FC?

Lindsey Horan:
“I’m so excited and so grateful that I get the chance to play for Portland. It’s kind of been a whirlwind these past few months, going through the process of leaving PSG and kind of getting back, established, in the U.S. and whatnot. But the most exciting thing for me was knowing that I would be coming to Portland, and of course that’s like one of my favorite cities and I know players that are there too. I’ve played with Tobin [Heath] before – so it’s really exciting for me.”

BC:
You came out of high school highly touted. You were recruited by the University of North Carolina, but you went to PSG. What was the experience there like for you?

LH:
“Oh my gosh, there are so many things I could say. I mean, I don’t regret anything at all that I did. The experience was so awesome for me. I think it really matured me in general, and my game as well. And I think that’s just an opportunity or experience you can’t beat; playing in another country with that caliber of players. I’m so happy I did it, and I’m so grateful for that experience.”

BC:
What was the soccer like in France?

LH:
“It’s different. They’re very tactical. Very technical. It’s a different style of play from the U.S., and then there’s some similarities but, you know, the whole thing is different and it’s hard to really describe unless you’re put into that situation and playing with those players. And there’s different coaching tactics too. But yeah, it was just a different game over there.”

BC: 
What was it like culturally? Did you pick up any French?

LH:
“Yeah. I mean, I should be completely fluent by now, but I’m not. (Laughs.) I understand most of it but speaking-wise it was really difficult for me. The culture there is awesome because it’s such a soccer culture, and I think that is pretty similar to Portland. That’s one thing that I was really happy about because I know [Portland’s] fan base and the city, how much it revolves around soccer. And that’s what you get when you’re in European cities as well. That’s what they live for and that’s their culture. So it’s really cool for me.”

BC: 
You’re in the national team camp right now and beginning the process for the Summer Olympics, which is coming up fast. What’s the feeling and the experience been like so far in camp?

LH:
“Oh, it’s been awesome. I mean, it’s the first camp of the year. Hearing about last year’s January camp everyone was a little, especially the new players, were a little nervous because this is a hard camp going into it. And we’ve had two-a-day’s, three-a-day’s, lifting, the whole works. But it’s been really cool and all the players have been awesome and I’m just happy to be here and to be home in the U.S.”

BC:
Have you ever been to Portland before?

LH:
“Yeah, I actually have. We had a U.S. U-20 camp out of Portland. And I’ve been there a few times just visiting or for soccer.”

BC:
What do you think you’re most looking forward to in terms of starting your time here in Portland?

LH:
“Being in the U.S., I’ve only lived in Denver and I’m really excited to go live in another city, in a new city, and play on a new team and kind of be put into that situation where you’re not completely comfortable in your home and your living environment. So I’m really excited for that challenge. And just the fact that I love Portland and I’ve seen the fans and the environment around soccer there. So I’m really excited for that. It looks so cool.”

BC:
What have you seen? Obviously the Timbers and the Thorns both have pretty incredible environments. How did you come across them? Online, or …?

LH:
“When Tobin was back playing in Portland [and I was still in France], I always—Tobin’s been one of my biggest inspirations playing, so I always watch her whenever I can. So if there was going to be an NWSL game on, I was watching Portland. And I would see the stadium. We went to a few games when we were in [U.S. U-20] camp and it was just insane, the amount of fans that you had at the game, the supporters. Like, no matter what, win or lose. It was really cool. And just even around the city, everyone was talking about soccer. There were so many things that were so cool. And people are so friendly there.”

BC:
That’s true.

LH:
“Yeah. It’s really different than Paris. (Laughs.)”

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