On the eve of Saturday's 2017 NWSL Playoff Semifinal against the Orlando Pride, presented by Tillamook Yogurt (12:20pm, Lifetime, TICKETS), we sit down with Thorns FC forward Ashleigh Sykes to learn about home support at Providence Park, her twin sister and more.
Portland Thorns FC forward Ashleigh Sykes says the support the home fans give the team is surreal.
“We get a few thousand fans who are pretty passionate about the club games in Australia, but this is a whole other level. I think it takes standing out here while the anthem is playing or when a goal is scored to really appreciate how awesome the fans are. To have that many people for regular-season games is amazing.”
Sykes has a twin sister, Nicole, that she played with at Canberra United.
“I think some coaches ran off the idea that we knew each other so well that we must be telepathic and that we should play really well together. We always played on the same side. She’s left-footed and was an outside back. We had a lot of fun playing together.”
In the NWSL offseason, Sykes works for Capital Football growing the game of soccer in Australia.
“I work for the Australian Federation at Capital Football doing game development stuff. I’m involved with holiday camps, school-clinic camps and community outreach initiatives.”
Australia Olympic champion Cathy Freeman was Sykes' favorite athlete growing up.
“She won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the 400 meters. She was my idol growing up. We didn’t go to her race, but on the way to watch some Olympic events, we pulled over on the side of the road cheering her on when she was running the final. My whole family was going nuts.”
After living in Portland for a few months, Sykes has a picked out a few of her favorite places to eat in the Rose City.
“I love this Japanese place called Shigezo, and they have really good ramen. My favorite café is called Proud Mary Café. I’m a bit biased, but it’s run by a Melbourne company. Their coffee and food is amazing. It’s been a nice little touch with home.”