“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”
Thus spoke the famous words of a love-struck Juliet as she pined for her Romeo in Shakespeare’s famous play. In the Rose City, the phrase, “By Any Other Name” was adopted by supporters of Portland Thorns FC to represent the spirit of the team and the club. As Juliet points out, it’s not the name that should matter, it’s what’s inside that counts.” And so too with the Thorns.
This year, to expand on this idea, we've had Germany Women’s National Team legend and Thorns FC goalkeeping coach Nadine Angerer do a series of interviews with players to hear more about who they are in their words, what inspires them, and where their personal stories lead.
- READ: By Any Other Name: Dagny Brynjarsdottir
- READ: By Any Other Name: Emily Sonnett
- READ: By Any Other Name: Emily Menges
- READ: By Any Other Name: Nadia Nadim
- READ: By Any Other Name: Meghan Klingenberg
In this interview, the final one in the series, Angerer sits down with midfielder Lindsey Horan. On the eve of the 2016 Rio Olympics, we learn about what life was like for Horan coming out of high school and going straight to the pro game with Paris St. Germain as well as adjusting to her new life in Portland.
LINDSEY HORAN: I have a question for you. Do you like the color green?
NADINE ANGERER: Yeah.
HORAN: Is it your favorite color?
ANGERER: No, it’s not my favorite, but I like it.
HORAN: I was just wondering.
HORAN: Because all your hats are green.
ANGERER: No, I have a blue one and I have a gray one.
HORAN: You have a blue one?
HORAN: I’ve never seen it.
ANGERER: It’s just the same one but just in blue. And I have the same one in gray.
HORAN: Okay. Well I haven’t seen it. I was just wondering.
ANGERER: For tomorrow I’m going to wear the same one just for you.
HORAN: Just for me?
ANGERER: Just for you.
HORAN: And then you come out and train with us too? [laughter]
ANGERER: So let me see. Of course, how often have you talked about your time in Paris story? Let’s do it a little bit differently. How did you enjoy your time in Paris with the German teammates? What did the German teammates do with you?
ANGERER: Yeah. Honestly.
HORAN: Actually they were great. I mean, you Germans are very unique, to say the least. Annike Krahn [now with Bayer Leverkusen] was like the first one that kind of took me in and made me feel comfortable, and she was kind of like my mom there and she took care of me. We lived together which was a whole new experience for me because I never lived with another player or anything, but she was so careful with me and I was like her little daughter.
And then more Germans came. There were just too many Germans. Just kidding. [Laughs] No. I think I became really good friends with Josephine Henning and Anja Mittag and…
ANGERER: Who else was there? Lira?
HORAN: Lira. [Fatmire] “Lira” Alushi. If she didn’t have a baby, we’d still be playing together for a little bit longer. But Anja, I would say, was probably the best forward I’ve ever played with. I’ve told you that before.
HORAN: And I only got to play with her for like four months which is really sad. Let’s get her to Portland as soon as possible. See if you can work your magic.
ANGERER: Absolutely, yeah. And would you say that because Annike looked out for you, that it helped you? Because I mean, you were very young and I think it’s a very brave step and a very brave decision. But how was it that you had a mom, a German “mom” with you?
HORAN: At the beginning it was really helpful because I needed someone there to kind of guide me through. I mean, I didn’t know the ways, and especially being in another country with a new culture. Annike, of course, was like a studying force and was learning French. And me as an 18-year-old who hated school, who didn’t go to college, I didn’t care about learning it right away. Of course I did later on. But she really helped me out with anything. Everything with our house she took care of it and helped me through everything. It was good. And then I eventually got my own apartment and I think that was better for me.
HORAN: But how was the situation? You come at 18-years-old, new country, new mentality, new league, professional soccer and no one speaks your language. Just describe the situation when you first got to the locker room.
HORAN: Oh my god, I was scared. I was so scared. The first time I walked in I just… There weren’t too many people that spoke English – or I didn’t even know who spoke English and who didn’t because they didn’t say anything and I was like this little 18-year-old that was not super-outgoing. I need to know someone before I start talking so much. And so I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and try to talk to people. I was just nervous and I just wanted to play. I would go home and just sit and Skype my mom. The first three months were so difficult for me.
ANGERER: And how was it in Paris? It is a totally different culture than here.
HORAN: Oh my god. [laughter] I think it’s more so like the people. In Paris everyone’s like “Go, go, go!” Like on the streets no one’s friendly. No one… I look up here in Portland and smile at someone in the street and they smile back. In France, I would smile at someone they’d give me the dirtiest look. I’m like, “Okay. I’m not going to smile at anyone ever.” [laughter] And it’s just like a different culture there.
ANGERER: Did you get the chance to travel in Europe because everything is so close compared to here?
HORAN: Yeah, we actually did. A few times with PSG, we took some trips to Italy and Portugal; preseason trips and whatnot. And then if we got some days off… Normally I would go to different places but I was obsessed with Barcelona. So I went…
ANGERER: I’ve never been there.
HORAN: You have never been there? You have to go. It is my all-time favorite city. Not just because I’m obsessed with FC Barcelona, but it was my favorite city by far.
ANGERER: What did you like in Barcelona?
HORAN: First of all, it’s all about the beach. The people there are so friendly.
ANGERER: And compared to France.
HORAN: You go from France to Spain for two days, oh my god, it’s crazy. People are so nice. The food is amazing.
ANGERER: And what do you like in general when traveling? Is it to get to know the different mentalities?
HORAN: Before, I wasn’t like that interested in it because I just love America. But now going to see new countries and stuff, I do really enjoy that. I like seeing new places but also learning their culture as well. I think that’s something you can’t learn in school. Nothing against education, but in my time in France, I learned so much just from living by myself and living with a roommate, paying bills, learning a whole new culture. And that’s something you can’t get anywhere else. Especially learning it so young. And then every place I would go to, I would learn something different about how they are. And now I have that, I don’t know what you’d call it, but I know certain things about Germans or Swedish people or the French people. I just think it’s cool that you have that.
ANGERER: You learn more about life.
HORAN: Yeah. You probably really understand that too. It’s just everywhere that you’ve been, you learn so many new things about these cultures and it’s so cool you can talk about that with anyone.
ANGERER: Because before you left for France, a lot of people were like, “She has to go to college, blah, blah, blah.” It’s like you have so much more life experience and no one else can teach you this in college and school. Do you regret the decision now or…?
HORAN: No. It was hard at first just because, not everyone knows this but I was supposed to be playing at the U20 World Cup that summer and PSG was like, “No. We want you to get your knee surgery.” And it was better for me. They were thinking about me and about my career and they were just like, “We’re not going to sign you unless you get the surgery.” And so I had to choose and it was just another decision on top of me going to play professionally. It was like, do I play my World Cup and risk another knee injury or just go to PSG and rehab. And in the end that was the best decision for me. And then my team goes and wins the World Cup. It was crazy.
ANGERER: If you think about what you’ve talked about now, you made all these big decisions at the age of 17, 18. That’s…
ANGERER: And I think that’s why you’re just 21 but people treat you like older people. It’s interesting because your personality or the way you are, it makes you look like 26, 27. And I think it’s really because you when you went abroad, had to deal with so many things, played with so many different players.
HORAN: Yeah. But I think even before I went out there I didn’t have that. I kind of wanted it. Everyone says they hate school and I understand that, but people can put up with it. With me, I wouldn’t go. I would just go train instead. And I would call in and pretend I was sick or something. I would do everything to get out of school just so I could play soccer. And I was like, “I don’t think college is right for me because I just want to be getting better at what I’m passionate about, and school is just not for me.” And so I was still immature and young but I think that whole experience just matured me in a different way. Which I’m really thankful for because it was a different route, I guess.
ANGERER: Yeah. And already now other young players are looking up to you.
HORAN: I think it’s also cool just because it shows young players, I don’t think it’s for everyone, but it shows them they have different choices too. Because in the men’s game that’s always the thought. Like, “Oh, I just want to go and play professionally,” but college is the second choice. And I think it’s cool now on the women’s side people are like, “Oh, someone did it so maybe I could do that.” They see someone else do it so they’re like “Oh that’s an option as well.” I think that’s cool.
ANGERER: And what do you think, because a lot of people ask me, “What’s the difference between the league in Germany and the NWSL?” For you, what’s the difference between where you played in France and the league here?
HORAN: Well, I’ll see if you agree with me, but I think probably if I compare the games, like PSG vs. Lyon to the games here, I would say PSG vs. Lyon [is a high level]. But I look at the whole [NWSL] and every game that I’ve played in so far, every game is so intense and physical. You don’t get that in France. There would be games where we play a team that’s 8th or 9th on the table and it’s like 8-0, 9-0 and I didn’t get that much from that game. And I feel like that’s the one thing.
ANGERER: But when I played in Germany and I came here, I was like, ”What the hell?!” It was so intense. And every game, because a lot of German journalists ask me, “What’s the difference?” I’m like, “Here I’m exhausted mentally and physically after every game because it feels like it’s a national game all the time. From the speed.”
HORAN: It’s crazy. And the press…
ANGERER: The pace.
HORAN: The pressure. The pace. It’s like…
ANGERER: The corners, the free kicks, everything. There’s so much more.
HORAN: Playing with the U.S. team, we don’t have that all the time because teams aren’t always pressing. Some of them like bunkering, but you need to have a good balance because some teams are going to come out and press. And you have to be ready for that. I was talking to Allie [Long] about it the other day; there hasn’t been a game [with the Thorns] where we can just go get the ball and we have five seconds. There’s someone always coming. That’s the biggest difference I can see from playing in France.
ANGERER: What were your funniest stories overseas?
HORAN: Oh my goodness. There was one time – this isn’t that funny but – There was one time I had come back from a national team camp and we had a rule, if you were late to training you’d get fined. And, you know, after being in the U.S., coming back you have jet lag, everything. I’m up in my apartment. Annike is gone – she had national team duty and she hadn’t come back yet – and our training was at 10 a.m. that morning. And Shirley Cruz and Tobin Heath [– then members of PSG – ] they were the people I drove with. And we were supposed to meet outside at like 9 a.m. and they’re ringing my doorbell, calling me, all this stuff. My phone is on silent. I don’t come out. I overslept three hours.
ANGERER: Well, you needed it.
HORAN: It was the day before our game. The pregame training and I’d come to training three hours late. And I had to go train by myself. That was like one of the worst things that happened to me.
ANGERER: What is your impression of Portland?
HORAN: I say the same answer for this question every time, but Portland’s awesome.
ANGERER: Okay, let me ask it in a different way. What makes Portland different compared to other cities?
HORAN: Interesting question. Compared to the U.S., Portland I feel like is more like… The culture is more around soccer and I don’t think you get that in a lot of cities, because I think everyone here knows or understands the soccer life and just playing football in general. And the fan base you get here is insane. Especially for women. I’ve never seen that anywhere else. So that’s huge, coming from Denver and it’s not the same there necessarily. But yeah, I really just enjoy that. And Portland’s very unique with everything in the city, and of course, they have great food too.
ANGERER: Cool. And do you feel with this team here now in Portland, do you feel like you have a lot of support from your teammates, more experienced teammates, that they will help you?
HORAN: Yeah. I think especially – I played with Tobin for a while in PSG – and coming back here and knowing that she was going to be here, I was really thankful for that. But also the whole team is kind of on the same page here and that’s really cool. Everyone wants the same thing. And then we have so many national team players that have so much experience, that I love playing with. And I have to say playing with Allie too in the midfield, that’s been the best thing for me. I think she is one of the most soccer-minded players that I have played with and I absolutely love that because I have so much fun playing with her and seeing how much she’s improved. And seeing her get called back into that national team now, that’s really cool for me to see and I love just playing with her.
ANGERER: And how is it for you with the U.S. national team?
HORAN: Oh, it’s amazing. The past few months playing with them has been such a whirlwind because I came back from PSG, just got thrown in there, new position and everything but now I feel more comfortable just being there and bringing something new. I’m just embracing my role now that I’m just more comfortable and confident I think. I want to keep improving there and keep giving my best. That’s what I want the most.
ANGERER: Very last question. You and teammate Emily Sonnett are good friends. Tell me Emily’s deepest secret.
HORAN: Emily Sonnett’s deepest secret. Okay, here you go: She is actually one of the best dancers I know.
HORAN: Yeah. She’s so good and we should make her dance.
HORAN: What did she say about me?
ANGERER: That you don’t like bugs.
HORAN: That I don’t like what?
ANGERER: Bugs or like worms or insects.
HORAN: Yeah. I freakin’… Tobin and Sonnett once were throwing worms at me! [laughter]