Cindy Parlow, USWNT, 2003 Women's World Cup

Thorns FC name Cindy Parlow Cone club's first head coach

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today named Cindy Parlow Cone their first head coach. One of the all-time leading scorers for the U.S. Women’s National Team and a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, Parlow Cone will lead Thorns FC in the inaugural season of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in 2013.

Parlow Cone’s playing career included nine years on the international stage with the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1996-2004, helping the team win the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and gold medals at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic games. She ranks among the U.S. Women’s National Team’s all-time leading scorers with 75 goals and 35 assists in 158 career appearances.

Photo: Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC Athletic Comm.

Following her playing career, Parlow Cone, 34, has served as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she starred during her collegiate career, for the past six seasons from 2007-12. She helped guide the team to national championship-winning seasons in 2009 and 2012.

“Cindy had a very successful playing career at the highest levels of the sport and is very well respected,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Portland Timbers general manager. “She was a part of a special group of players for the U.S. Women’s National Team that endeared women’s soccer to sports fans in the United States and helped catapult the U.S. Women into one of the best teams in the world. As a coach, Cindy is ambitious, and we feel she is the perfect fit to lead Thorns FC and help build the women’s game in Portland.”

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Parlow Cone also spent the last six years as the director of coaching for senior girls programs (U-15 to U-18) at Triangle United Soccer Association in Chapel Hill, N.C., and has been a member of the U.S. U-14 and U-15 Girls National Team coaching staffs since 2010. She holds a USSF “A” License and has participated in a FIFA Futuro III course.

“It is very exciting to be part of a new women’s league and to be a part of launching a new professional team in Portland,” Parlow Cone said. “I’ve seen first-hand the great enthusiasm Portland has for soccer; it’s a soccer-smart fan base that generates an incredible atmosphere. I am very much looking forward to the first season of Thorns FC.”

Parlow Cone, a forward, began her international career with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 1996, scoring twice in her debut and contributing to an 8-1 win over Russia on Jan.14, 1996. She was named the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 1998 and was a member of the highly recognized United States squad for the 1999 Women’s World Cup, scoring two goals in the tournament. The 1999 U.S. Women’s National Team was named Sports Illustrated’s 1999 Athlete of the Year.

Additionally, Parlow Cone helped the U.S. Women’s National Team to a third-place finish in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, playing in the semifinal match against Germany held at JELD-WEN Field, and a silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She, along with the other members of the 1996 Olympic team, was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004.

Parlow Cone played in Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) for three seasons with the Atlanta Beat from 2001-03, leading the team to the postseason each season.

At North Carolina, Parlow Cone recorded 68 goals and 53 assists during her collegiate career from 1995-98, and is one of 10 players in the program’s history to record 40 or more goals and assists in a career. She was a four-time All-American, won the Hermann Trophy in 1997 and 1998 as the nation’s top player and led the Tar Heels to back-to-back national titles in 1996 and 1997.

Thorns FC play in the new eight-team National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) set to begin in spring 2013. The league will be administered by U.S. Soccer, which will subsidize the salaries of up to 24 U.S. Women's National Team players, while the Canadian Soccer Association and Federation of Mexican Football will each do the same for up to 16 players in the league.

Fans interested in placing a $25 per-seat refundable deposit towards 2013 Thorns FC season tickets may contact the club’s ticket office at (503) 553-5555 or Current Timbers season ticket holders and members of the Season Ticket Waiting List do not need to place a deposit.

Media Request: When referencing Portland’s new women’s professional team, please refer to it as either “Portland Thorns FC” or “Thorns FC.”